After for working in Camden, NJ for the past year, I’ve had the experience of visiting an impoverished, third-world country right across the Delaware river. It is hard to describe it’s condition, but two recent local media pieces have tried:
From a recent Philadelphia City Paper article:
Most of Camden looks like the deadly Badlands of North Philadelphia during the crack epidemic of the 1980s and early ’90s — if not worse. While signs of rebirth sprout along the waterfront, whole swaths of North and South Camden are urban disasters reminiscent of Johannesburg, Rio de Janeiro and Kingston. Countless open-air drug markets occupy rubble-ravaged corners like bargain circuses, the blaze-eyed dealers momentarily turning their heads toward the sky and scratching their goatees whenever a police cruiser drives past. Newly organized gangs furiously murder off independent drug dealers in a battle for limited turf. And then there are the more mundane, but equally deadly, street operas, like the one involving Jason Santos, which play out almost nightly. – Who Will Pray for Camden?
And from local filmmakers, Camden advocates, and friends Sean Dougherty and Father Michael Doyle: