Newark Mayor Baraka on the deaths of three preemie infants in University Hospital

university hospital
Speaking about the three preemie infants who recently passed away at University Hospital in Newark, Mayor Ras J. Baraka shared these comments:

“The deaths of three premature infants with an Acinetobacter bacteria and the infection of a fourth, all cared for at University Hospital, are stark reminders that an overhaul of the quality of care and the leadership of the hospital is urgently needed. The infants had a variety of other medical conditions, but the fact remains that they contracted the bacteria in the hospital’s neonatal ICU. The Newark Department of Health and Community Wellness will work collaboratively with the New Jersey State Department of Health to continue careful monitoring of the situation in that unit.

“In July, Governor Murphy acted swiftly and decisively in appointing a monitor for University Hospital. Today, more action is needed. The hospital is central to providing health care to Newark residents, and I have been very concerned about its quality of care, its leadership’s failure to live up to the Newark Agreement negotiated when the hospital was created, their insensitivity to the opinions of residents, their attempt to reduce the number of pediatric beds without consulting myself or the Governor, and the failing grade they received on their level of care from the Leapfrog Group.

“The time has come for the State of New Jersey and the Newark community to collaborate in setting a new direction for University Hospital:

The hospital needs to become more responsive to the people it serves and sensitive to their needs. This requires more community input with new leadership, including a new board with adequate representation of Newark residents and a new President/CEO with a history of sensitivity to community.
State and federal investment is needed to enable University Hospital to become the first-class teaching hospital that it was intended to be, including an overhauled emergency room, a world-class trauma center, and more outpatient clinics to meet the underserved medical needs of the people of Newark.

“In 1968, the state and federal governments negotiated a detailed pact with the people of Newark to create a top-notch medical facility with community involvement and oversight in perpetuity. On the 50th anniversary of the Newark Agreement, it’s time to keep the promise.”

The North: a new collection of interactive multimedia stories of Newark that “must be told”

The NorthAuthor of Unfinished Agenda: Urban Politics in the Era of Black Power Dr. Junius Williams introduces The North multimedia storytelling project with these words:

THESE STORIES MUST BE TOLD
Sometime ago, those of us who entered political movements for change walked on our first picket line or marched in our first demonstration. At some point we got hooked on concepts like “Freedom”, “Direct Action” and “Resistance” to get rid of Jim Crow racism. Eventually we came to learn how to spend time in jail, survive police and vigilante violence; to organize poor and working class black people; to extract perks and building blocks from federal programs and build coalitions among unpredictable community groups; to fight city hall; to negotiate agreements that produced opportunities and skill development for community development; and to manage campaigns to elect black politicians.

But then one day we looked around and realized that many of our friends (and enemies) who made that journey, or similar journeys, were no longer with us….to laugh with, relive old conquests, or just tell lies. Too many have moved to places unknown, gotten sick, or passed on to the next life.

So many of our collective stories go untold.

These stories must be told, and hence the evolution of this project entitled, The North: Civil Rights and Beyond in Urban America.

Visit the project’s website Rise Up Newark to hear and read stories about the growing empowerment of black people and other communities in New Jersey’s largest city. Photograph slideshows tell more.

The project was built to be youth friendly but learners of all ages will find a visit very worthwhile. Moreover, your own stories and thoughts can become part of this body of knowledge: at every step along the journey of learning and discovery it presents, site visitors are invited to, “Share Your Reaction Here!”

I’d love it if you also leave a comment on Facebook or on this blog to let me know how you like this resource.

NY Times reports: Cory Booker is just an image. And other reasons to dislike the guy.

Booker marketing hot pockets

Booker marketing hot pockets
Source: twitchy.com
Some of the reasons to dislike Cory Booker:

Booker was handsomely paid to go into Newark and blow it up from the inside so property values would fall and residents would be eager to sell to developers and gentrifiers for a fraction of what their properties were worth. That’s what gentrification is all about.

While Mayor Booker went around collecting over a million dollars for speeches, he managed to also push a Newark firefighter to the ground in front of a burning building … to fire a huge number of police officers and to cripple the city’s Department of Public Works so snow removal could not be performed. Interestingly enough, he concurrently waged a misleading PR campaign based around his promises to personally shovel out residents who were snowed in. The number of Newark residents Cory helped were just a handful of those needing professional snow removal.

He tried for years to sell off the Newark Watershed, which by the way is among the most beautiful sites in New Jersey, truly a state treasure … to developers, naturally.

He announced his intention to take over Sen. Lautenberg’s seat before the elderly politician was even dead.

Booker’s education support record is dismal. He accepted money from Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, but did not use it to improve public education in Newark. Booker has a long history of supporting charter schools, which are used as a wedge to destroy public education. In 2011, Booker colluded to close 10 public schools in Newark and intended to close 12 more the following year.

Bob Braun explains Booker and Zuckerberg’s connection to Foundation for Newark’s Future (FNF) and to Christie:

Foundation for Newark’s Future (FNF), that mysterious concoction of money and politics put together by former Mayor – now US Senator – Cory Booker, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, and Governor – and presidential wannabe – Chris Christie.

Newark paid Booker’s former employer (a law firm) millions of dollars in fees while Booker was mayor. During those same years, Booker received payments from that firm.

The single reason Booker did not completely destroy Newark despite all his attempts to do so, is that some of the brightest minds and most well informed residents live in Greater Newark and they fought tooth and nail to prevent Mr. Sellout from accomplishing his evil dreams.

Booker got elected US Senator with Christie’s help. In 2013, Christie spent $12 million of NJ voter’s money on a special election just for Booker … in order to make sure that Christie’s own election which took place just 20 days later didn’t draw enough voters to the polls that Christie himself might not getting re-elected.

I’m not the only person Booker has failed to charm. The NY Times says Booker’s a better marketer than mayor and reports:

When snow blanketed this city two Christmases ago, Mayor Cory A. Booker was celebrated around the nation for personally shoveling out residents who had appealed for help on Twitter. But here, his administration was scorned as streets remained impassable for days because the city had no contract for snow removal.

Last spring, Ellen DeGeneres presented Mr. Booker with a superhero costume after he rushed into a burning building to save a neighbor. But Newark had eliminated three fire companies after the mayor’s plan to plug a budget hole failed…

criticism has come even from those he won over: people working on the education projects he supports, council members who ran on his reform slate, business leaders and families who believed in his promise to bring “a renaissance for the rest of us” to a city plagued by self-dealing and mismanagement.

They say Mr. Booker’s frequent Twitter posts to his 1.3 million followers, his appearances on television and at gatherings of moguls and celebrities — he was out of town nearly a quarter of the time between January 2011 and June 2012, according to The Star-Ledger — have distracted him from the local trench work needed to push his agenda. Business leaders say he dazzles at news conferences, but flags on the follow-through. Residents have wearied of the outside fascination for the mayor whom Oprah Winfrey called “a rock star” and Jon Stewart on Wednesday referred to as “the superhero mayor of Newark.”

NCC’s vocational training programs in Newark are underway – apply today

OSHA training grads
Credit: Essex County
If you know someone looking for a job or seeking new skills, check out New Community Workforce Development Center’s vocational training programs in the fields of:

  • Academic Enrichment
  • Allied Health*
    (*Home Health Aide, EKG Technician, Medical Assistant, Phlebotomy Technician and Patient Care Technician)
  • Automotive
  • Building Trades/Construction
  • Culinary Arts
  • ShopRite Partners-In-Training

To apply for admission into a training program, visit the Workforce Development Center at 274 South Orange Avenue in Newark. For more information, call Workforce at 973-824-6484 and speak to Martha Davis or Rodney Brutton.

NPL hosts event for launch of book on outstanding women in Puerto Rican history on June 29

PR Women History Forgot
Source: Markus Wiener Publishers – book cover
The New Jersey Hispanic Research and Information Center @ The Newark Public Library and the Friends of HRIC are co-hosting the launch of the new book, Nationalists Heroines: Puerto Rican Women History Forgot 1930s-1950s, by Dr. Olga Jiménez de Wagenheim, Professor Emerita in History, Rutgers University. The public is welcome at this event.

A book signing and reception will follow the talk and reading.

Book Release Event for Nationalists Heroines:
Puerto Rican Women History Forgot, 1930s-1950s
Wednesday 29 June | 6 PM
@ The Newark Public Library
Centennial Hall
5 Washington Street, Newark, NJ
973-733-3637 or 973-733-7772

Historians have largely overlooked the roles of the Puerto Rican women who were active members of the island’s Nationalist Party and fought to end what they considered to be the U.S. government’s illegal occupation of Puerto Rico. Dr. Wagenheim’s latest book seeks to rescue the stories of these courageous women who gave up their freedom in search of their homeland’s independence. Attached is a brief note from the publisher’s site.

Olga Jiménez de Wagenheim is author of Puerto Rico: An Interpretive History, El Grito de Lares: sus causas y sus hombres, Puerto Rico’s Revolt for Independence: El Grito de Lares and co-editor with Kal Wagenheim of The Puerto Ricans: A Documentary History.

For more information contact:
Ingrid Betancourt, Director
NJ Hispanic Research and Information Center
@ The Newark Public Library
ibetancourt@npl.org
5 Washington Street
Newark, NJ 07102
973-733-3637 or 973-733-7772

Publisher’s statement about Nationalist Heroines: Puerto Rican Women History Forgot, 1930s-1950s by Olga Jiménez de Wagenheim

From the moment the United States seized Puerto Rico, in 1898, to the 1950s, the islanders employed various forms of resistance to the imposition of American colonial rule. A group of Nationalists led by Pedro Albizu Campos made it clear that they would free Puerto Rico, by armed struggle if necessary. A confrontation between the Nationalists and the colonial police in October 1935 left four Nationalists dead. A few months later two Nationalists killed the Chief of Police, Francis E. Riggs. Albizu Campos and seven of his aides were convicted on seditious charges and sent to a federal prison in Atlanta, Georgia. His followers attempted to hold a demonstration in Ponce, Albizu Campos’s hometown, and were gunned down by the police: nineteen unarmed men, women, and children were killed and more than one hundred and fifty wounded. Dominga de la Cruz ran from a place of safety to rescue the flag from a wounded comrade.

Back in Puerto Rico in 1947, Albizu Campos began to plan for a revolution, which he launched on October 30, 1950. A commando unit of five attacked the Governor’s residence while others assaulted police stations in half a dozen cities and towns throughout the island. One woman, Doris Torresola, was shot while protecting her leader. The same day Blanca Canales was one of three to lead the revolt in Jayuya. Two days later, two Nationalists, residents of New York, attempted to kill President Truman at Blair House, his temporary residence. Massive arrests followed and forty-one women were detained on suspicion that they had conspired with the rebels. Two of the fifteen women indicted were sentenced to life in prison. Then, on March 1, 1954, another woman, Dolores Lebrón, led three male companions in an attack on the U.S. House of Representatives in which five congressmen were shot for keeping Puerto Rico in bondage.

Historians have largely overlooked the roles of these Nationalist women. Nationalist Heroines: Puerto Rican Women History Forgot, 1930s-1950s seeks to rescue the stories of the women who gave up their freedom in the quest to free their homeland.

Dr. Olga Jiménez Wagenheim is Professor Emerita in History, Rutgers University, Newark Campus, where she taught 27 years and where she received the Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award (1991), the Humanitarian Award (1998) and many others.

Dr. Jiménez Wagenheim has published several books and numerous articles on Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans. Among her books are: Puerto Rico: An Interpretive History From Pre-Columbian Times to 1900 (Markus Wiener Pub., 1998), Puerto Rico’s Revolt for Independence: El Grito de Lares (Westview Press, 1984), El Grito de Lares: sus causas y sus hombres (Huracan, 1984), and co-edited with Kal Wagenheim, The Puerto Ricans: A Documentary History (Praeger, 1973, Markus Wiener, 2013).

Knowing Newark book available for free at NPL locations

Knowing Newark
Source: Newark Public Library
In honor of Newark’s 350th anniversary, the Newark Public Library announces the publication of Knowing Newark: Selected Star-Ledger Columns by city historian and librarian Charles F. Cummings in a 112-page book.

Knowing Newark: Selected Star-Ledger Columns by Charles F. Cummings is available for order on Amazon.com. The 112-page book is available for $6.74 ($2.75 for the book + $3.99 shipping). The book will be available free of charge at any Newark Public Library location.

The Library has also created a companion Knowing Newark website that will make all 500 of Cummings’ columns available for the first time. The first 100 columns are already online at knowingnewark.npl.org and the rest will be added over the course of the year. Each column is illustrated and keyword searchable.

UBER begins operating in Newark legally – and will pay $10M for airport access

Newark Penn Station 2015
Newark Penn Station Source: Wikipedia
Newark, NJ on 27 April 2016 – Mayor Ras J. Baraka, UBER NJ General Manager Ana Mahony and taxi owner/drivers revealed additional details of the preliminary Newark/UBER agreement which was announced last week and signed on Tuesday, 26 April. The enhanced plan assures rider safety, provides revenue to Newark and protects the taxi industry.

This is the first agreement UBER has made with any major city in New Jersey and consists of:

  • UBER drivers may not stand in areas set aside for taxi waiting and will wait at an off-airport dispatch location to receive calls through the UBER app.
  • UBER drivers are prohibited from staying at Newark terminals to receive dispatches.
  • The City of Newark can receive a $3 Million up-front payment as part of the previously announced $10 Million permit fee to be paid by UBER over 10 years specifically for operating at Newark Liberty International Airport.
  • Even if a state-wide law is passed regulating UBER, UBER will remain obligated to pay the $10 million.
  • Newark may audit UBER’s compliance with this agreement annually.
  • UBER will provide $1.5M of commercial liability insurance coverage for all drivers operating on the platform.
  • UBER will conduct background checks on all drivers through a nationally-accredited, third-party provider. These checks will examine county, state and federal records, as well as motor vehicle records, sex offender registries and terror watch lists.
  • UBER will enforce a zero tolerance policy for drug and alcohol use by drivers using the UBER app.

Mayor Baraka said, “My goals have been to protect the safety of UBER riders, to require UBER to pay its fair share including fees and permits under the same kind of regulations as other businesses in Newark, and to create a level playing field for UBER and the Taxi and Limousine Industry. The agreement is fair to all and allows UBER to become a good corporate citizen of Newark. This agreement is good for economic development and job growth in Newark. UBER is an important addition to our city’s rapidly expanding technology sector.”

Ana Mahony, UBER New Jersey’s General Manager issued this statement:

UBER is proud to be the first ridesharing company to reach a compromise with the City of Newark that allows our driver-partners and riders to continue to use our app. The agreement framework released by Mayor Baraka is a model for the state legislature as it considers statewide ridesharing legislation. We thank Mayor Baraka for his leadership in making Newark the first city in New Jersey to embrace comprehensive and fair ridesharing regulations that encourage tech innovation and economic opportunity.

Thousands join mayor’s Occupy the City rally on Saturday to support Newark, youth & to stamp out violence

Mayor Baraka and CommonLed by Rapper-activist-actor Common joined Mayor Ras J. Baraka, the Newark Municipal Council and actor-rapper-activist Common, thousands of Newark residents united to “Occupy the City” on Saturday, August 8, meeting at a designated location in each of Newark’s five wards at 3:30 pm and marching to the City’s historic downtown “Four Corners” at Broad and Market Streets for a huge anti-violence and community support rally.

Building on the success and support from Newark residents during his “Occupy the Block events, Mayor Baraka hosted the “Occupy the City” event to unite residents against despair, violence, and crime in Newark and to promote love, hope and empowerment. “Occupy the Block” is a community engagement tool modeled after the historic “Occupy” movement, which advocates the social disruption of harmful or ineffective social constructs. Marchers wore purple t-shirts specially made for the occasion.

Marchers

The Mayor called upon residents to take action against violence in their neighborhoods by reporting incidents of crime to the police, organizing themselves and their neighbors as communities and providing hands-on nurturing and mentoring to children, beginning in their own homes and neighborhoods.

“We need peace in our community. We need it now. No more silence! Stop the violence,” the Mayor urged. “It’s not enough to be on Twitter and Facebook cursing people out. You have to get out into the street and stop blaming people. How many kids have you talked to? How many kids have you mentored? How many organizations have you joined? What are you doing? Have you gone into your schools? Have you joined the PTA? Have you gone to School Board meetings?”

Walking up Market St

“Our kids should not have Chinese-made assault rifles. It’s easier to get a Chinese-made assault rifle in our community than a decent loaf of bread. Our children should not lie on our streets, dying in pool of their own blood, from bullets from a foreign-made assault rifle. Our children should not have to lie on the floor to avoid the bullets. Our children deserve to live in a safe neighborhood and grow up to be surgeons and doctors and Supreme Court justices,” he asserted.

The Mayor also spoke directly to parents and guardians of children in attendance. “Do you talk to the child in your kitchen? Do you talk to the child in your living room? Do you talk to the child on your corner, wearing his pants down and a white t-shirt? You should be talking to him.

“These kids who are committing crimes are babies, 14 and 15 years old. They don’t pay taxes, they don’t vote, they don’t run this city, and they don’t bring jobs to community. They don’t decide who is the Superintendent of Schools or who the mayor is. So how are they in charge of your house, building, street, and block? You are the adults! You have to stand up straight.”

Mayor Baraka called upon parents to set examples by using culture as a positive force, noting that while many parents use social media to complain about conditions in Newark, their neglected children are misbehaving and listening to music that preaches violence and destruction.

Mayor Baraka speaks“Turn off that radio,” Mayor Baraka exhorted repeatedly. “They listen to songs that say ‘I got high last night’ and ‘murder, murder, murder.’ We need music that is positive. Teach your babies to sing positive songs at age 8, 9 and 10. We want them to sing at age 10, ‘I am beautiful on purpose and outstanding.’ Not, I’m going to shoot some dude on the corner. Put on songs that make babies love each other and make kids think they are big strong and powerful. Put on songs that say we can do anything we want to do and that we should love each other. If you don’t have one, I’ll give you my playlist. Listen to that in your house instead of complaining on Facebook about where are police at. They should be in your living room. Take responsibility. Culture is a weapon. It can be for us or against us. It is for us and kept us as a people from slave shouts to gospel, jazz to blues. The music that is going on is aiding in death and destruction of own children.”

The Mayor also addressed pain the community experiences as an underlying cause of violence. “We have to address the pain of hopelessness, poverty, unemployment, and death. We have to address the pain of destruction in community, of powerlessness and of inequality. We have to address the pain our kids feel – of having no money in pocket, having no clothes to wear to school for five days, and no food in the house when our kids get get home. We have to address the pain of having an older brother in jail or a youth being in jail at age 17 or having just got out of jail and not being able to get a job, or a driver’s license. We have to address the pain of being a crime victim. We have to address the pain of being 17 years old and can’t read.”

Mayor Baraka called on residents to organize outside their homes. “When we leave here, what are you going to do? We didn’t come here just to make you feel good. When you go home, become part of a block association. If you haven’t got one, start one. If you have one, join it. Start a block watch. Patrol your neighborhoods. We need people to question people who are on the block who don’t live there. If you live on the block and don’t know your neighbors, that’s a problem. Ring doorbells and introduce yourselves.”

The mayor also reminded attendees of the importance of speaking up, particularly when the criminals are known to community residents or are family members.

1000s rally

“People aren’t dropping these kids from helicopters or UFOs into neighborhoods. We know these kids. They’re related to you all. They are our sons and brothers. But instead of taking action, you hide them in your basement. You get them out of town. They cause havoc in the neighborhood in the neighborhood and you protect them. You don’t stop them. You don’t grab them up. You don’t tell on them. But then you’re on Twitter complaining about what the mayor should do when your son is out there creating havoc. You need to say something to hem. Pull them aside. Have a rally in your own living room and kitchen. Hold an ‘Occupy Your House’ rally,” he said.

“We have to open our mouths. No more silence. Tell. It’s over. When you tell, you’re not a snitch. It’s different. When you tell, you’re saying, ‘I’m not with you. I’m not part of what you’re doing. Being a snitch means ‘we’re together.’ Telling means you’re saying: ‘You don’t belong on my block – you’re causing problems in the community, I’m calling the police. We should all be telling. Then go to the next block, and make them tell, too.”

The Mayor also called upon state and federal agencies to replicate the Marshall Plan that rebuilt western Europe after World War II in America’s urban cities. “When we fought wars in other countries, we rebuilt their roads, gave money for police and built hospitals, schools, and the whole infrastructure. Our cities and infrastructure are crumbling. We need new schools, hospitals and roads. We need jobs. Not 100, or 1,000, but 5,000 and 10,000. We need this in Newark and every city in country. We need it now.

“We must end poverty. It is the number one enemy. It is the worst form of violence. It is killing us. That is why we are fighting. Violence is a public health issue. Violence is a disease that spreads everywhere. It kills people. We all know mothers who have lost children to prison and shootings. We must treat it as a disease. No more silence. Stop the violence. Say, ‘We are human beings. We don’t deserve to die on sidewalks at age 13 or 14 years old.'”

The rallying points and contact organizers for each ward were:

  • North Ward: Victoria Avenue and Cutler Street. Contact: Daniel Figueroa (201) 566- 6097
  • South Ward: Brunswick Street and Astor Street. Contact: Stacey Hillsman (973) 715-3629
  • East Ward: Pennington Court. Contact: Ligia DeFreitas (201) 566-3137
  • West Ward: 15th Street and 15th Avenue. Contact: Marques-Aquil Lewis (201) 566-5108
  • Central Ward: Central Avenue and 9th Street. Contact: Al’Tarik Onque (201) 463-6372

Many groups joined in led by city and community organizers and Municipal Council members led marchers from their wards to the rally. Chief of Staff Amiri Baraka, Jr. served as Master of Ceremonies.

Common speaks“From Chicago to Newark, we are one people. We must work to find peace within ourselves and to be at peace with each. Violence destroys the beauty inside of us and kills our communities. Let’s unite and do what is right,” Common told the crowd.

Dr. Janice Johnson Dias, co-founder and President of GrassROOTS Community Foundation and Assistant Professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, served as the rally host. Speakers included Abyssinian Baptist Church pastor Reverend Perry Simmons; Nicole Paultre Bell, fiancée of police shooting victim Sean Bell; and representatives of clergy and community organizations.

Actor, director and Newark native John Amos“When I was growing up here and misbehaving, people would say, ‘Amos, if you keep doing that, you’ll wind up in Rahway State Prison,'” recounted Newark native and actor John Amos. “Well, I cleaned up my act, and I did wind up in Rahway, only I was making a movie with Sly Stallone! We need for our children to be able to achieve the same dreams – to be actors, lawyers, doctors or Supreme Court justices.”

During the rally, the Newark Fire Department provided information about their drive to recruit new firefighters, while the Mayor’s Read and Believe program gave out free children’s books.

Photo Credits: City of Newark Press Information Office

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Booker attempts to whitewash friend Cami’s black NPS record

Booker and CamiFormer Newark mayor Cory Booker, a close friend and former employer of Cami Anderson, did not resist the temptation to try to inject positive spin into Cami’s recent removal from Newark Public Schools. Anderson is the New Jersey appointed Newark Public Schools superintendent who just left Newark in the wake of widespread protests for all the damage she’s caused to the students and schools she was hired to serve and protect.

Asked about the politics surrounding Anderson vacating of the position, Booker said “I’m happy with her contributions, things we should all be appreciative of.”

Really – what are those contributions we should all appreciate, Sen. Booker? I’ve only heard bad things about this woman. Such as:

  • In May, thousands of Newark Public Schools students walked out of school and together with supporters, shut down Newark’s downtown streets for several hours in protest of all the damage Cami has done
  • Newark’s current Mayor Ras Baraka called for her removal on the same grounds
  • Cami and Chris Cerf spent millions of dollars on consultancies owned by their friends whose assessments of NPS produced no important outcomes
  • National attention for barring the 5 young children of the Tillman family from attending their neighborhood school and a local television story won the family a reprieve from an impossible situation. At the beginning of the 2014 school year, Cami assigned the children to 5 separate schools located in different corners of the city, each one far from home and refused to consider reassignment to make it easier for their parents to escort them to school. After the news report, Cami relented and put them together in a single school closer to home.

The Washington Post handily sums up the overall impact that New Jersey state control has had on NPS:

Christie has the right to decide who runs the Newark school system because it is under state control and has been since 1995. It hasn’t been improved since.

Newark Students’ May 22 walkout and protest over 2000 strong

Newark 1505 student walkoutOn May 22 2015, over 2000 students and supporters shut downtown Newark NJ down for several hours to create visibility and bring awareness to the horrors Newark students have experienced at the hands of Chris Christie, Cory Booker and Cami Anderson, who jointly created a plan to break the back of public education in this city.

Anderson’s “One Newark” plan has young children from a single family barred from attending the school local to their home and instead, being sent far outside their neighborhood to 4 different schools in different corners of the city. Each child must take 2-3 bus rides and spend an hour of commuting time each way to reach school. Throughout the city, public school students are denied books and sanitary food; the principals and administrative staff of the city’s most successful schools are fired; and police charges were filed against a PTA president for hanging flyers announcing the PTA’s next meeting.

As the walkout and protest clearly show, a growing number of students and their supporters are completely fed up. In the words of my esteemed friend and public education advocate Johnnie Lattner, “Enough is enough.”

Here’s some news coverage of yesterday’s walkout, many links courtesy of Bashir Akinyele, host of All Politics Are Local, America’s #1 political Hip Hop radio show

Politico’s attempt to make fun of Baraka is an utter #fail

Ras BarakaMatt Bonamo tried pretty hard to discredit Ras Baraka in his March 19 Politico Magazine article. He failed, because Ras is good at being good – but not for lack of trying.

Ras with finger alongside noseFirst, look at the photo Mark chose as his lead: why is Baraka’s face contorted, and his finger laid alongside his nose? Only one logical answer: the photo is meant to be demeaning. In the article’s wrap-up, Bonamo quotes Ras using syntactically regional language. Again, why? Why list every one of Booker’s impressive educational credentials and then contrast that with a quote showing Baraka being loose with his grammar? Again, the reason is clear: Bonamo obviously meant to discredit Mayor Baraka.

Bonamo’s article also clearly shows he drank the ‘Newark school Reform’ Kool Aid and loved it. It’s too bad Bonamo did absolutely no background research on this topic. It’s not like truthful reporting about the so-called school reform scam is hard to find. Mark Zuckerberg’s much-touted-by-the-media’s $100 million gift was not to help Newark schools. It was to help bolster the charter schools incursion into Newark, which itself is meant to serve as a wedge to close public schools and sell off the buildings in which they are housed – valuable city assets – to education privatizers (aka charter school developers). Booker and Christie are the New Jersey ringleaders of this effort and Cami Anderson is a captain in their army of betrayal of the public trust.

The One Newark school reorganization plan that Cami kicked into high gear this school year was not intended to provide better education and better choices to Newark students. Its single goal is to create discomfort and chaos in the lives of the city’s indigenous residents whom are primarily black, Latino and poor, and to decrease education quality for the city’s students. But with Mayor Baraka’s support, Newark’s student heroes continue to protest valiantly and brilliantly against attacks that are morally reprehensible and socially irresponsible.

I guess they’ll win because heroes are hard to beat.

Newark students – heroes in spite of being deprived of books and food

Support Newark studentsThe Student Heroes of Newark is a phrase coined by Daniel Katz in a Huffington Post article on how Newark, New Jersey students are handling the challenges of being starved by the Christie Administration and Cami Anderson, Newark Schools superintendent for classroom books and even food.

One student explains that there may be four textbooks in a classroom of over 30 children. Another, that there isn’t enough food in the cafeteria for both lunch and breakfast: if the staff serve one meal, they run out of food for the other. Take a look for yourself at this 3 minute video – these young people are powerful advocates and know how to tell their story.

@NewarkStudents facebook.com/newarkstudentsunion

Couples can buy Newark land for $1000 on V-Day 2015

Valentine's HouseI guess this isn’t as good a deal as Chicago selling off land at $1 a lot but Newark’s Valentine’s Day land sale still seems pretty darn good to me. According to the city’s website, Couples only can purchase a Newark land lot for $1000 from the city if they can afford to build a dwelling on it and are willing to live there for 5 years.

Take a look at the terms and tell me what you think …

A special land sale that Economic and Housing Development has organized for St. Valentine’s Day – Saturday, 14 February 2015, 9:00AM – 12:00PM at Newark City Hall (920 Broad Street). In the spirit of St. Valentine’s Day, we are doing a sale of city lots exclusively to COUPLES. Transforming non-tax producing city owned lots to occupied, tax producing properties with new homes built on them. We will be selling 100 lots at $1,000 a lot. This sale is NOT for developers or investors. The sale is exclusively for couples who are looking to live in Newark.

The rules are as follows:

  • You must be a couple (straight or LGBT)
  • Only one lot per couple
  • Lots will be awarded on a “first come, first served” basis
  • Lots will be sold for $1,000 each
  • All final sales are subject to Municipal Council approval
  • Buyers will be required to make a $500 down payment
  • Buyers will be required to pay an additional $500 at closing
  • Buyer is responsible for all closing costs
  • Buyer must submit a City Planning Board approved site plan to close on the property
  • Buyer must have a commitment letter from a financial institution AND/OR proof of cash to cover the cost of the infill new construction to close on the property
  • Construction must be completed within 18 months of closing
  • Buyer must reside in the property for 5 years after issuance of C.O.
  • Anyone from anywhere is eligible to participate except employees of the EHD Property Management Division

On the Matter of Black Lives Panel @ ECC 2/2

Newark police brutality panel 150202A Movement or a Moment panel discussion on police brutality, racial profiling and the matter of black lives will be presented on Monday as part of the Fireside Chat Series at Essex County College.

Monday, February 2 2015 6-8pm
ECC Fireside Chat Series Panel:
A Movement or a Moment,
on the Matter of Black Lives

Siegler Hall, Essex County College
303 University Avenue, Newark, NJ
Cost: free

This free program is being offered in response to the high-profile deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, and the subsequent court rulings and responses. It will center on whether the matter of black lives is an event of the moment, or an ongoing and growing movement.

Scheduled panelists include writer and activist Darnell Moore, activist Walter Fortson Jr., community advocate Laquan Thomas, criminal defense lawyer Ada Nunez, activist Michael Kramer, a representative from the Newark Police Department, and Michele Kamal, whose son was shot and killed last year by Irvington police. Essex Associate Professor Linda McDonald Carter, director of the College’s Paralegal Studies Program, will serve as moderator.

The discussion is presented by the College’s Urban Issues Institute and sponsored by Alpha Rho New Jersey Alumnae Chapter of Omega Epsilon Rho Service Sorority, Inc. Additional information is available from the Urban Issues Institute at 973-877-3239.