Stay informed on everything happening within Newark Public Schools and the Newark Board of Education! Read up on all of the many ways the district is garnering media coverage. 


MONDAY// MARCH 21, 2022


George Clinton Brings the Funk, New Musical Equipment to Old Elementary School
Rolling Stone – March 18, 2022
Arts High Takes Center Stage in Broadcasting ‘All-City Dance’ During Arts in Our Schools Month
RLS Media – March 18, 2022
NY Giants Star Rolls Out New ‘Breakfast Cart’ At Newark School – March 18, 2022
ECC Community Education Forum: host Alfred Bundy & Roger Leon Superintendent of Newark Public School
YouTube – March 17, 2022
Former Beloved Principal of Newark West Side High School Dies
RLSMedia – March 16, 2022
How should you approach the conflict between Ukraine and Russia to explain it to children? 
Univision – March 4, 2022
Caldwell, SHP & Central Help Highlight An Eventful Essex County Hoops Season
SidelineChatter – March 2022


Full Articles



George Clinton Brings the Funk, New Musical Equipment to Old Elementary School

Ahead of a special belated 80th-birthday show, George Clinton gave a gift of his own to his old school in Newark, New Jersey, — a ton of musical equipment. In turn, Avon Elementary officially renamed its music room in honor of the funk legend. 

The event took place Thursday, March 17, with Clinton receiving a warm welcome full of confetti and rousing cheers from students and teachers. During the George Clinton Music Room naming ceremony, Clinton performed a bit as well, unleashing — what else? — Parliament’s 1976 classic, “Give Up the Funk.” 

“You pay attention to the kids, they’ll always deliver,” Clinton said, via ABC 7. “You won’t have to be as old as you think you are. If you just let them have their turn, and it makes you fresh again.”

Avon Elementary’s principal, Charity Haygood, added, “I’ve got 3-year-olds here that are bringing the funk. And so, this party is going to go on forever. This is generations and generations, so I’m incredibly grateful.”

Avon Elementary was just the first stop for Clinton as he made a hero’s tour of his hometown. Per the Asbury Park Press, he also popped over to nearby Plainfield, New Jersey, where five blocks of Plainfield Avenue was renamed “Parliament Funkadelic Way.” The ceremony itself was held right outside a youth center where the Silk Palace barbershop once stood — that’s where Clinton formed his first band, the Parliaments. 

Clinton will keep the celebration going Friday, March 18, with a special 80th-birthday concert with Parliament-Funkadelic at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (the show was supposed to take place last year, when Clinton actually turned 80 in July 2021, but it was delayed due to Covid). The show will feature special guests Questlove, Vernon Reid, and Nona Hendryx. 


Arts High Takes Center Stage in Broadcasting ‘All-City Dance’ During Arts in Our Schools Month

Arts High School Principal Ms. Devonne Gorman and her newly revitalized Media Arts/Television Broadcasting Department took the honor of hosting over a dozen schools around Newark in a live recording of the All-City Dance that took place in the school’s grand auditorium earlier this week.

“Opening the doors of Arts High School to host the annual All-City Dance performances of the young and budding artists throughout the city of Newark was an absolute joy,” Principal Gorman said.

In her attempt to bridge world-class performance and community engagement by presenting performing artwork that challenges, speaks to, and elevates diverse audiences, Newark Public Schools’ Director of Visual & Performing Arts, Ms. Margaret El, connected elementary and high school dance programs in the city for a week of choreographed dance greatness.

Principal Gorman said the stage was filled with artistic expression, passion, collaboration and excellence.

Dance programs from around the district were bussed to Arts High.

They spent three days conducting videotaping sessions in the school’s state-of-the-art broadcast center, encompassing fiber optic multicamera ad audio connections to the auditorium.

There are other live cameras and audio connections around the nation’s first visual and performing arts school.

The schools in attendance for All-City Dance were Hawthorne Ave, Harriet Tubman, Hawkins Street, East Side High, West Side High, Belmont Runyon, Peshine Ave, NJ Regional Day, Rafael Hernandez, Elliott Street school, First Avenue School and Franklin.

“This experience was yet another example of the charge our Arts High School community has embodied this year, as we continue to “Aspire to Inspire” in all that we do,” said Principal Gorman. 

Newark Visual and Performing Arts Director Margaret El would like to thank Department Chair Warner and Mr. R. Smith for a beautiful production and launch of an excellent facility at Arts High. 

They also want to thank the WAHS TV Broadcast Team of students for the first-ever launch of newly built control room:  Meca Davison Photojournalist, Nigel Bush Camera 2, Nathaniel Fernandez Camera 3, Tai Greene Camera 1, Samiyah Smith Technical Director, Devin Brockette Technology Director, Ziare Edwards Technical Director Richard Aires Lighting, Maggie Quintas Audio. 

All of the performances will be aired at a later date on Webex.


NY Giants Star Rolls Out New ‘Breakfast Cart’ At Newark School

NEWARK, NJ — The pathway to a successful school day is paved with a good breakfast. Just ask New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton.

Last week, Slayton was on hand for the rollout of a new, “Grab-n-Go” breakfast cart at the Newark School of Global Studies cafeteria at 24 Crane Street.

The breakfast cart – a donation from national nonprofit GENYOUth – includes a milk cooler and cooler bags. It was funded by PRWeek through GENYOUth’s “End Student Hunger Fund” in partnership with the American Dairy Association North East.

“I am proud to be a part of this community initiative in Newark,” a beaming Slayton said.

“As a professional football player, I’m passionate about the role nutrition plays in shaping healthy lives, both on and off the field,” Slayton continued. “So I proudly support programs that make it easier for students to get a healthy breakfast and be more active, ultimately allowing them to reach their full potential.”

According to GENYOUth, the statistics surrounding food insecurity for children in Newark and New Jersey overall underscore the need for a concerted effort to ensure meals are easily and readily accessible. One in five New Jersey children live in poverty, and in Newark public schools, students of color represent 91.6 percent, with 80.4 percent of students qualifying for free and reduced meals based on household income.

A good, healthy breakfast is a key component of that effort. But it’s not always possible – or preferable – for students to get their meal in the school cafeteria. And that’s where a mobile “breakfast cart” can make a difference, the nonprofit says:

“Since 2017, [our] grab and go breakfast cart program has combatted food insecurity within schools through an alternative meal delivery model that drives greater student engagement by addressing the challenges hindering participation. These include lack of time, convenience, and the stigma associated with school breakfast in the cafeteria. Currently, there are over 500 GENYOUth-funded meal carts in American public schools, which have helped to increase average daily participation by as much as 27% and to expand access to 50 million school meal opportunities.”

“In our schools, we have experienced first-hand, the positive impact that a healthy breakfast plays in the overall ability of our students to learn and achieve academic success,” Newark School Superintendent Roger León said.

“Grab and go breakfast carts help ensure that a nutritious start to the day is available for all students,” León said.


ECC Community Education Forum: host Alfred Bundy & Roger Leon Superintendent of Newark Public School

In this segment of ECC’s Community Education Forum, host Alfred Bundy sits down with Newark’s Superintendent of Public Schools, Roger Leon.

Click here to watch the full interview.


Former Beloved Principal of Newark West Side High School Dies

Family, friends and the Newark West Ward community are mourning the death of a beloved principal who made notable changes to a high school in that portion of the city. 

Mr. Fernard Williams died Tuesday morning from complications of an unspecified illness. He was 76. 

According to The New York Times, Mr. Williams was a former Marine and Newark police officer, who also graduated from West Side High, loved the school and spent his last days of public employment leading the effective revitalization of the historic building. 

Initial public records showed that Williams worked as a substance abuse awareness counselor at West Side High School before becoming a vice-principal at Weequahic High School in the city’s South Ward. 

In an effort to bring an influential climate, good culture and revitalize a decline in academic effectiveness to the school, Williams returned and was appointed by the late State-appointed Superintendent Beverly Hall to lead the educational facility out of its hardships. 

The Chief Executive Officer of Metro Media Associates of NJ, which is the parent company of RLS Metro Breaking News, was a 1994 graduate of West Side High School. He warmly remembered  Mr. Williams. 

“I highly respected Mr. Williams’ leadership during my time at West Side High School as a vice-principal who later became principal, after I graduated from the school.” -Richard L. Smith

“Mr. Wiliams (a Roughrider forever) was a great man who rendered strong leadership and was a role model to many of us males, cared for the school. I am sending prayers to his family and everyone who knew and loved him,” Smith said. 

When he was appointed principal in 1997, West Side was one of the worst schools in the city.

The physical changes now are dramatic. Inside and out, it is immaculate, and Mr. Williams is even growing grass on the long-barren front lawn.

There are changes in attitude too. Mr. Williams got rid of some teachers and other staff members. He had a new curriculum idea, The New York Times said in a 1999 article. 

West Ward community leader Mr. Lyndon Brown said the following in a statement: 

“RIP to Retired West Side High School Principal Fernard Williams. Thank you for your service to our community.

You instilled discipline and respect in a lot of teens. Your dedication will long be remembered by the students whose lives you touched.

May your wings soar high!”

Today, West Side High School is better because of the strong leadership of  Mr. Fernard Wiliams and the current building administration, who has guided the school into a new path of greatness. 

Funeral arrangements for Williams have not been announced at this time. 


How should you approach the conflict between Ukraine and Russia to explain it to children?

In this situation, children could feel stress and fear, so it is important to know how to address these issues at home. “You have to be aware, moderate how we respond to dramatic events, monitor what they see on TV or on their phone, without a lot of detail about what’s going on, just talk positively about what can be done to help,” Brenda said. Almodóvar, social worker.

Click the link here to watch Univision visit Elliot Street School. 


Caldwell, SHP & Central Help Highlight An Eventful Essex County Hoops Season

Player of the Year: Zamorian Singleton, senior, Central

Central coach Shawn McCray knew that he had a terrific group of seniors to pave the way for a potential championship campaign in 2021-2022 and his Blue Devils began their preparation long before their season opener in mid-December by undertaking a very busy slate of games together throughout the summer and fall.

There were still the off-the-court challenges with having to restart after an early-season covid pause, but the season may have had even more meaning for the seniors due to what everyone had to endure during the past two years.

Central had the individual talent to be at the vanguard of a push for conference, county and state titles led by Zamorian Singleton and fellow senior Zahree Brown who had been with the Blue Devils since their freshman year, plus the addition of Shabazz transfer Jakai Irby who at 6-foot-6 and 230 pounds was a legitimate ‘big’ on a county scene where inside forces were not particularly plentiful.

And, while the aforementioned trio shared the spotlight in the Blue Devils’ game-by-game results on the way to a 27-5 season that included a North 2, Group 2 state sectional title and a runner-up finish to Seton Hall Prep in the Essex County Tournament final and to highly-ranked Camden in the Group 2 state final, the overall, most consistent force was the 6-4 Singleton, a graceful glider down the lane, reliable perimeter threat, fierce rebounder and strong defender.

For his season-long efforts that included 13.9 points and a team-leading 9 rebounds per game plus 12 ‘double-doubles,’ Singleton is Sideline Chatter’s Essex County Player of the Year.
He was understandably emotionally drained after his team’s pulsating 59-55 win at top-seeded Caldwell in a memorable N2G2 final, but the smile on his face was also undeniable.

“I love this team and we have a great chemistry which has been built through so many games together throughout the year,” he said. “This is a special moment and we’ve worked so hard to achieve what we have.”

Among Singleton’s superlative efforts were 28 points and 12 rebounds and then 34 points and 12 boards in a pair of regular season wins over East Side, 21 points and 12 rebounds in a 73-59 victory over a Paterson Charter team that would finish as Group 1 state champs and with a 31-2 record.

He had 11 points and 20 rebounds in a 76-66 win over Immaculate and 23 points and 11 boards in the Blue Devils’ 72-68 triumph over University in the Newark Public Schools Tournament championship game.

He led his team with 18 points in its 68-56 ECT semifinal win over Immaculate.

Where Singleton winds up playing in college remains to be seen, but he was certainly an accomplished high school player who will be a big plus for whatever program he winds up with at the next level.

Runner-Up Player of the Year: Tristin Harcourt, senior, University

Very few players in Essex County were as productive as the 6-6 Harcourt, who averaged 17.9 points, 13.7 rebounds, 3.9 blocks and 3 assists per game for the Phoenix along with producing an amazing 20 ‘double-doubles’ in 21 games.

His individual efforts included 21 points and 16 rebounds in a 67-55 win over East Side in the Newark Public Schools Tournament semifinal along with 19 points and 14 boards in a hard-fought 72-68 loss to Central in the NPST final.



How This Newark Nonprofit is Addressing Food Insecurity in the City

NEWARK, NJ — Newark-based outreach organization United Community Corporation (UCC) is determined to tackle food insecurity across Newark with assistance from local partners.

UCC officials next week will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony at South 8th Street to debut the organization’s “UCC Café Mobile Food Pantry” program. The initiative features a food truck equipped to serve prepared and packaged meals directly to individuals facing food insecurity. The project, UCC officials said, can adapt to meet the needs of the community, help overcome the barriers of transportation encountered by low-income residents and eliminate the stigma of going to a food pantry or soup kitchen.

The new initiative follows suit with another recent effort UCC has led to address food insecurity, establishing a community fridge in the city’s East Ward. The unit provides residents around-the-clock access to staple goods such as milk, juice, cheese, fresh fruits and vegetables, all at no cost. In celebration of next week’s UCC Café ribbon-cutting, organization officials will debut another community fridge at South 8th Street.

“We are in some interesting times between social distancing and the lifting of those restrictions. We have to figure out ways to be better stewards for our community, caregivers to our neighbors, and the mobile feeding program and the community refrigerators both represent the forward-moving and reach into the communities that we want to serve,” UCC Executive Director Craig Mainor told TAPinto Newark. “We have to stay on our toes and be flexible enough to meet the needs of the community.”

Mainor noted that about 40% of Newark residents don’t own a car, making it difficult for many residents to access meals by foot. By establishing a mobile feeding program like the UCC Café, hot meals can get delivered directly to the city’s at-risk residents. Meals are cooked and pre-packaged at a kitchen on 19th Avenue and then brought onto the truck to be delivered directly to the community. The service caters to UCC’s senior clients and shelter guests, and it will be made available to partners and others in need of assistance. 

Putting a second community fridge directly in one of the city’s most vulnerable neighborhoods also helps expand this effort to reach as many residents as possible. UCC’s first fridge in the East Ward has already helped serve more than 5,000 residents since its launch.

“[It] helps address the needs of those that are not mobile,” said Mainor. “I think that it is the innovation and thinking outside of the box that will reduce some hardship within the community.”

In Newark, food insecurity has been a long-standing issue. Earlier this year, each of the city’s five wards was designated as a top 10 “food desert” in the state by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.

When the coronavirus pandemic swept across the city in 2020, the issue was further exacerbated. 

As Newark businesses were required to shutter their doors in order to mitigate the spread of the virus, thousands of residents subsequently lost their jobs. As a result, many residents were faced with the predicament of having to figure out how to feed their families.

Maria Torres, who manages UCC’s Champion House food pantry, saw firsthand how the pandemic impacted Newark residents. Under Torres’ direction, she and the pantry staff hosted daily distributions, participated in mass-distribution events, worked through UCC’s 40-plus partners and personally gave out food to those who couldn’t leave their homes. In 2020, UCC served approximately 150,000 people. The result represented an increase of more than 1,000% over prior years.

With the upcoming launch of the UCC Café and second community fridge, Torres is eager to continue reaching the city’s most underserved residents.

“My team and I are ready to tackle everything,” Torres told TAPinto Newark. “We are like a family. We create a fun environment, and we make things happen. People always tell us that we look like we’re having fun. Our staff all have great hearts and want to help the people around us. Our supporters play a great role in helping us fight food insecurity as well.”

The UCC Café was funded by the Community Service Block Grant CARES Act Rapid-Cycle Impact Project, an initiative aimed to address immediate needs in communities, including sponsorship from the Presbytery of Northeast New Jersey. This project also received key guidance from the Community FoodBank of New Jersey.

UCC officials will debut its second community refrigerator in partnership with the Newark-based New Jersey Children’s Foundation, Presbytery of Northeast New Jersey, Newark Opportunity Youth Network and Partners In Health.

UCC officials are already looking to expand their outreach efforts as well after next week. The organization is partnering with the Newark-based Clinton Hill Community Action citizens outreach group and Avon Avenue School to establish a third refrigerator accessible on Avon Avenue. 

“The city, community-based organizations and religious organizations have been working really hard – some of us together – trying to address the specific needs of the neighborhoods and communities that we are based in,” said Mainor. “It’s all a network and web of caring individuals and organizations. This program is a big step towards addressing these needs and a big victory in addressing poverty.”


Watch Newark Mayor’s State Of City Speech: ‘Belief In Ourselves’

NEWARK, NJ — Newark Mayor Ras Baraka presented his eighth State of the City Address on Tuesday evening, touching on issues such as public safety, employment, economic development, housing, lead service lines, and the city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The speech was broadcast from the Prudential Theater of New Jersey Performing Arts Center (watch it below).

“I am asking you to believe in Newark’s children, believe in our ability to get to victory,” Baraka said. “Believe that the seeds we have planted will blossom. That the work we are doing and the places we are building will be made useful for all of us.”

“It was belief that got us through COVID-19,” the mayor continued. “It was belief that got us through our lead crisis. It was belief that got our schools back. It was belief that helped us reduce violence. It was belief that moved us where we are. Belief in ourselves and belief that Newark will be okay. Belief that nothing can stop us.”

In his speech, Baraka highlighted some of the accomplishments that have taken place during his eight years in office. They included:


  • Mayor pointed to city’s collective efforts to reduce COVID-19 cases and positivity rate, which saved lives.
  • City’s efforts enabled it to re-open safely and restore its economy.


  • In 2013, Newark’s unemployment rate was 14 percent. It fell to just more than five percent before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and rose to 22 percent during its height. The unemployment rate is now at eight percent.
  • With the help of Anchors institutions, 4,000 residents were employed, doubling the City’s Newark 2020 goal.


  • Newark was able to disburse $20 million of American Rescue Plan monies to residents in need, to help them pay back rent.
  • Opened new full-service homeless shelter, Miller Street Pathways to Housing Center, to support residents without addresses at former school. 24,000-square-foot shelter offers 166 beds, counseling, case management, and social services. Designed to transition residents to more stable housing.
  • Newark Hope Village uses innovative remodeled shipping containers to temporarily shelter the most vulnerable. Two more are scheduled for construction this year.
  • Developing Drop-In Center at Penn Station that will provide case management and social services to turn people who are “shelter-averse” into “shelter first,” and then transition them into independence and housing.
  • Council passed groundbreaking Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance that requires developers to set aside 20 percent of their units to create affordability. Mayor introduced amendments to Ordinance to increase supply of housing that residents can afford and ensure that Newark is an equitable city.
  • Created New Jersey’s only Land Bank. It increases homeownership citywide, regardless of income level, including Section 8 recipients who can use their rental vouchers to purchase their first homes.
  • $20 million in new housing will be targeted to residents with a household income of $32,000 or less.
  • We are funding preservation of 6,000 affordable units and will support 10,000 vulnerable or unsheltered households every single year.


  • Newark has continued to grow, even during the pandemic, concentrating on equity.
  • The city has billions of dollars of scheduled development. New restaurants and businesses are opening.
  • Newark Equitable Growth Advisory Commission was formed to partner with city to ensure that projects focus on the most vulnerable residents as economy sprints forward.
  • First Source ordinance requires 30 percent of vendors be Newark residents and 51 percent be minority- or women-owned.
  • Invited anchor institutions to return to Newark as we continue our economic recovery.


  • Ended $93 Million deficit and balanced Municipal budget.
  • Offered tax relief to residents, which has not been done in more than a decade.
  • Extended broadband and Wi-Fi to city parks and recreation centers. Provided Chromebooks to senior citizens. City seeks to ensure that every resident has access to free or very low-cost broadband to bridge digital divide.
  • Invested a $2 million grant to address food insecurity by growing smaller urban farms as co-ops.


  • Hired more than 500 police officers.
  • Cut homicides by 50 percent. Newark is at a 60-year low in overall crime.
  • Created an Office of Violence Prevention and Trauma Recovery, supported by five percent ($12 million) of the Public Safety budget, and Brick City Police Collective, expanding the work Newark has been doing with community-based organizations. City set aside $19 million for such organizations.
  • Changed police policies and practices, including additional training for officers to improve their interactions with community, providing them and requiring them to wear body cameras, and creating the first and only Civilian Complaint Review Board in the State of New Jersey.


  • Created Newark Parks Foundation, Inc., which held 200 events this past summer, drawing 35,000 attendees amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Creating Ridgewood Park, Newark’s first park designed for community members diagnosed with Autism.


  • City replaced every known lead service line, more than 23,000, at no cost to the taxpayer, in less than three years.
  • Vice President Kamala Harris visited Newark to highlight success of our replacement program, pointing to city as a national model for similar such programs.

The full text of Baraka’s prepared speech follows below.

Mr. Council President. Dignitaries. And the incredible families of our city. I’m not going to be long tonight. You can see from the video that we have been working. But, I come to you this evening as a kid from Newark. Son of Amiri and Amina Baraka, who both gave their heart and blood to this city. They made deep sacrifices for the city and the families that live here. They loved and still love this city immensely and have passed that love down to me, and I have tried in my years to use that love to create hope, to build belief, and ultimately the courage to transform – to move from what we know to what we can imagine. I have used that love to move our city forward. I come to you tonight as the Mayor of the city of my birth. A city that I love and a city that I am proud of.

And, Vice President McIver, we are assembled here today to affirm that our city is great. It’s moving in the right direction, and we are still, even in a pandemic, scoring touchdown after touchdown. We are here to say that our families are strong and our city is growing. That we have not run from any of our problems, that we have faced them down, and are changing our trajectory one day at a time. We are proud from where we have come and are confident in our road ahead. We are not here to proclaim that we are perfect, that our problems have somehow disappeared. Or that we don’t have intractable issues that challenge us daily. But, that is the very reason we are in this auditorium tonight, the reason I decided to do this eight years ago, to get in the game, to fight the big fights. I realized that it wasn’t enough to just talk about the issues and criticize others. I had to get in the arena. And as I am thankful for all that we have accomplished, I am equally thankful for all the hardships, the obstacles, the unexpected barriers. And I am even thankful for those who get up each day to tear down everything we try to create. Because how can we say Newark Strong if we have never lifted anything heavy? How can we say we are tough if we never been tried? How can we say we are moving forward unless we pass the places where we have been stuck? I know we are better than we were eight years ago. And anyone that tells you different is selling you fiction.

So what have we done? In 2013, Newark’s unemployment rate was around 14 percent. Right before the pandemic hit we were a little over five percent. At the height of the pandemic, we were at a record high of 22 percent unemployment, and in just two years, that number is back down to eight percent. This is moving forward even in the deepest waters. And while many cities struggled to dispense of their American Rescue Plan dollars to residents that were behind on their rent, we were successful in giving out $20 million to our residents.

I’m optimistic and have good reason to be. Proud because of our journey. I was born two years after tanks rolled up Springfield Ave, and our city burned, and we were left to figure it out on our own. I was raised here in this city amidst struggles and triumphs. I played on dirty mattresses in abandoned lots and witnessed my friends beat by police or murdered by poverty and drugs in the hands of people they knew. But, we pressed on. That same street that burned to ashes, I started my tenure by cutting the ribbon of a brand-new supermarket and complex, and we’re now looking forward to development up and down the corridor that was once a stage for revolt and turmoil. We rose above the flames and Newark moved forward. When I came into office, our budget was unbalanced, and we had 93 million reasons to believe the pundits that our future was not bright and that the new Mayor couldn’t work with the business community. But, we found the best in our neighbors and partnered with our anchors in every imaginable way. And tapped into the brilliance that already rested in our folks at City Hall, and now we are able to offer tax relief that has not been done in more than a decade. This is Newark Forward.

Our Police Department was shaken at the foundation. There were more than 160 officers laid off and crime rose and more than 100 families lost loved ones to senseless acts of violence. We turned that around with God’s grace, hired over 500 officers, and cut homicides completely in half and have the lowest crime rates that we have had since the Bay of Pigs. Newark Forward.

Around the country, we suffocated under the foot of Officer Chauvin as George Floyd’s life was taken in front of us all. Calls to abolish the police rang out, as people were tired of being tired. Here in Newark, we created the Office of Violence Prevention and Trauma Recovery with monies from the Police Department. We set aside 19 million more dollars to go to community organizations. Even before that, we created the Newark Community Street Team and Brick City Peace Collective to begin to challenge a culture of violence and create a network of organizations that could get on the ground and work in the most difficult areas of our city. Even more, we changed police policies and practices, added additional training for our officers, and created the first and only Civilian Complaint Review Board in the State of New Jersey. This is Newark Forward.

In the last two to three years, we built a brand new full-service homeless shelter, a village for the most difficult to house in an innovative container village and are scheduled to build two more this year. As well as a drop-in center by Penn Station for our Residents Without Addresses. This is Newark Forward!

As Newark continues to grow, even during this pandemic with billions of dollars of scheduled development and the opening of new restaurants and businesses, we have concentrated on equity. We started off by going after slumlords and continue to do so. We have closed some places down, forced rehabilitation in others, and run some unscrupulous folks out of town. We formed an Equitable Growth Commission to partner with us and ensure that our ideas and projects focus on the most vulnerable and those that are struggling as our economy sprints forward. With the help of the Council, we passed an Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance that forces developers to set aside 20 percent of their units to create affordability, and we just strengthened that ordinance to ensure that more are created. This is Newark Forward.

We didn’t stop there. We created the state’s only Land Bank. That has begun to put wealth in the hands of our residents through property ownership. Here is where we took residents that were in public housing, used their vouchers, and created an opportunity for them to become homeowners. This is Newark Forward.

And even further, we have invested $20 million in new housing targeted to residents with household income of $32,000 or less. We are funding the preservation of 6,000 affordable units and will support 10,000 vulnerable or unsheltered households every single year. This is Newark Forward.

And while the conversation everywhere is about the growing digital divide, particularly in this pandemic, we extended broadband and Wi-Fi to our city parks and rec centers and even provided Chromebook tablets to our seniors. We are scheduled to expand it to our housing properties and public school buildings, but the overall plan is to ensure that every resident of this city has access to free or very low-cost broadband no matter where you live. This is Newark Forward.

Because of the work we have done, we have given black and brown entrepreneurs, businesses, and developers opportunities in this city they just really never had. We continue to do so, as we are on the road to do our part in closing a wealth gap in this state created by decades of intentional discrimination and white supremacy. This is Newark Forward.

In our first year, we secured 700 jobs for Newark residents, opened up Whole Foods, broke ground on the world’s largest indoor farm, and put out a $2 million grant to address food insecurity by growing smaller urban farms into co-ops. We strengthened our first source ordinance requiring 30 percent of vendors be Newark residents, and 51 percent be minority- or women-owned. With the help of our Anchors, we employed 4,000 residents, which got us to double our Newark 2020 goal before the pandemic. This is Newark Forward. Newark Forward. Newark Forward.

We are rehabilitating almost all of our rec centers and parks. We were voted fifth of the country’s most walkable cities. We created a Parks Foundation, managed by Marcy DePina that immediately held 200 events this past summer in our downtown parks that drew over 35,000 attendees in the middle of this pandemic. This is Newark Forward.

And finally, we are creating Ridgewood Park designed for our residents with Autism. Our first and only park created to address the needs of our autistic community. This is Newark Forward.

And I am so excited that I get to finally on this evening, at NJPAC, an opportunity to celebrate the way I really want to today with my people, the families of my city, and those that love this city now and forever. I get to proclaim that not all storms come to destroy you. That these storms don’t come to stay. They come to pass. And as the world watched our city struggle and thought we would be crushed under the weight of doubt and negativity, some threw us in a cistern and sold us off. But, we made it here anyway. What they thought would destroy us became our footstool. And so, Vice President Harris came here to congratulate us for the work we have done. I get to tonight hold up one of the city’s last lead service lines. We went from being mocked to being modeled. More than anything, this is Newark Forward!

We are making it to the other side of this pandemic. I know there are those out there that were not happy with the decisions we made, who loathed wearing masks and used their platforms to demean, even demonize, our vaccination efforts. I understand your fear, your skepticism, even your anger. I just don’t agree with you. I watched as Newark led Essex County in deaths and this county and our state rested at the top of the nation’s list in cases and deaths.

With the help of our collective efforts in this city and our county, we were able to reverse those trends. What we did saved lives, and I would do it all again if I had to. These are decisions leaders have to make in difficult times. Do we watch our neighbors die? The most vulnerable perish? And respond with angry diatribes on social media, or do we do whatever is in our power to save their lives? Do we watch infection grow and cross our fingers and be guided by fear as we are crushed under the weight of this crisis? Or do we stand tall and cover those that may not make it without us. This is our job. To bear the burden, to carry the cross. To do what we have done, and there are more people that are able to sit in this hall with us this evening because we made the right choices.

And because we did this, we are able to open up again safely, bring our people, and our economy back. In fact, Newark was listed as one of the top US cities that are recovering from this pandemic rapidly. We want to continue to move forward. And so tonight, I’m asking all of our businesses, institutions, our corporations, and Anchors to come back to Newark. We are ready to move forward. Prudential, I invite you back. Horizon, I invite you back. PSEG, I invite you back. Mars, come home. Don’t leave us now. We are growing. We are winning. We are moving forward. Join us. This is Newark Forward!

There is so much more for us to do. And I pray that we are given the opportunity to continue getting it done. We are not perfect by no stretch of the imagination. We are a constant work in progress. The task that lies ahead of us is enormous. The world is certainly being pushed backwards. And there needs to be an equal and opposite force in the other direction.

We are witnessing war and aggression in Ukraine, the attack on a democratically elected government. And we witnessed something similar here in an attack on democracy not too far from us in Washington, DC, on January 6th. We are watching as our voting rights are being chipped away and the will and force to address it has been weak and timid. States are banning books and making it illegal to teach Black History, whether it’s a speech by Martin Luther King or a novel by Toni Morrison. Because there are people that believe teaching our children about injustice is worse than actually having to live with it.

Here in New Jersey, we cannot pass basic criminal justice reform, speak on reparations, desegregate our own schools, or find the will to include everyone into our economy or provide housing for the most vulnerable. It is time for us to repair the breach. We need serious-minded people in these offices. We have to be thoughtful about what we are doing here. This is not the time for clout-chasers and opportunists. Or those that partner objectively with the forces that are trying to silence our diversity. This is no time for the entitled or title-seekers. No time for glory seekers or increased likes on Facebook. We need workers now more than ever. We need those that love the cause and the labor that brings it to existence. We need those with wide shoulders that can hold us all. Dreams that are big enough for all of us to fit in. No time for small-mindedness, bickering and foolishness, name-calling and bitterness. Our lives are not a dramatic miniseries, or reality TV. We are not entertainment or a sideshow for YouTube. We have a long history. With mighty families. This is Newark, N.J.

We need a team, a force equal and opposite to the one that tries to divide us, break us down, and force us to lose hope in one another. We started in 2014, asking you to believe. To believe in Newark. Because believing matters. There is power in what you believe. The first step towards failure is our inability to believe. So the goal is to move you beyond your belief in what is possible. The idea that we can triumph. The radical imagination that forces us to believe in one another. And ultimately, this city that made us who we are.

And so tonight, I’m asking you to believe in Newark again. But this time, in Newark’s future. What we can become. How we can continue our transformation. And it’s going to be painful because we are going to have to stop reminiscing about places we’ve been and plot the course to where we are going. We have to abandon hopeless conversations and ideas that give life to our demise. And walk away from those who are empowered by our problems and feed off of our misery. We have to imagine something and some place different that is so disruptive that the state must pay attention to the direction we are going.

I am asking you to believe in Newark’s children, believe in our ability to get to victory. Believe that the seeds we have planted will blossom. That the work we are doing and the places we are building will be made useful for all of us. It was belief that got us through COVID-19. It was belief that got us through our lead crisis. It was belief that got our schools back. It was belief that helped us reduce violence. It was belief that moved us where we are. Belief in ourselves and belief that Newark will be okay. Belief that nothing can stop us. That whatever they have for us we can handle and whatever they mean for bad will be turned into good. Belief that our love for each other is greater than the hate they heap upon us. Belief that the righteous will never be forsaken. And that good will always win in the end. Belief that the only way we can win is by doing it together.

I don’t mean any disrespect, but I saw a sign that read he’s with us. When there is an us, there is a them. Not here. There is no us and them, only we. WE are all from Newark all of us. WE come from families that migrated here from the South on an iron horse seeking refuge from lynching and hatred to raise families with little to nothing. We are from mothers that traveled miles with their children and everything they owned, speaking different languages, and settled here looking for good education and opportunity. We traveled overseas seeking refuge from earthquakes in Azores and turned pain into profit on small streets thousands of miles away from our traditions. We left poverty In Haiti and war-torn Liberia. We all chose Newark. No matter where we left, we found our way here. History has made us neighbors; put our fates in each other’s hands. We have learned that dividing us makes our situation worse. It condemns our belief and threatens our security. It makes our collective prosperity almost impossible. It means that we must be together no matter what part of the city we live in, and anyone that tries to create division is the enemy of our growth and the obstacle to our belief.

So, what do we do? We believe anyway. We join hands across neighborhoods and wards. We learn each other’s languages and eat each other’s foods. We break these artificial barriers and cross these imaginary lines. WE show the world what the future looks like. WE show the world what the future of Newark looks like! WE show the world what the future of Newark looks like!


Newark Residents Can Access Information on City Schools Through This Newly Launched Site

NEWARK, NJ – A new online research tool launched today by the New Jersey Children’s Foundation (NJCF) that will serve as a “one-stop-shop” for Newark residents to access more information about all school options in the city.

“My Schools Newark,” is a mobile-friendly, service-oriented website that was created as the result of extensive Newark-based focus groups and parent engagement, according to officials from NJCF, a Newark-based nonprofit dedicated to promoting a fact-based discussion about public education in the city. The platform is free of charge to all users and is planned to incorporate parent and community feedback ahead of a full version launch of the site in the coming months.

“As Newark’s population rises and the school system continues to grow, parents deserve access to better information regarding Newark’s many school options,” said Kyle Rosenkrans, executive director of NJCF.  “My Schools Newark was uniquely developed to serve the specific needs of Newark families and centralizes all school-based data and information to help those families navigate the city’s full menu of private, parochial, charter, and district school options.”

Development for My Schools Newark began by commissioning the New York-based research firm Global Strategy Group to conduct a citywide survey of Newark voters and focus groups with city school parents to learn and understand their feelings on how to improve the school selection and enrollment experience.

The findings, which can be viewed here, revealed that parents found it hard to gain the information they needed about local schools, oftentimes relying on their own internet searches to find information pertaining to their school choices. 

“Through citywide surveys and polling, multiple focus groups of Newark parents, and input from the city’s schools and community-based organizations, we learned a great deal during this initial process,” said Rosenkrans.

The platform has been in a public beta phase, available to Newarkers, throughout the development of the site since December 2021. When beta-testing began last year, officials said the goal was to reach Newark families through social and digital engagement, and gain continued feedback from Newark schools and community groups.

The platform received more than 45,000 unique visits during the initial public beta phase, providing the development team with quality data about user habits that will improve the experience for families in the future, according to officials.

In February, My Schools Newark also hosted a virtual school fair to assist families during the Newark Enrolls application period, including representatives from over 20 schools from the district, charter, and pre-k sectors in Newark.

“We were thrilled that the beta version could serve as a resource to parents during the district’s recently concluded enrollment process and the feedback we have received has been amazing,” said Rosenkrans. “Most of all, we are committed to developing and improving this product based on the needs of Newark families.”

The NJCF executive director noted that the platform will grow over time by responding to the feedback from its parent-users. It’s expected, he said, that the feedback will help the team make fixes, add new features and increase outreach, including more school fairs and partnerships with community-based organizations. 

Upon announcement of My Schools Newark’s launch, NJCF officials also announced that the platform would be led by Octavia Thompson, who brings years of experience working in the education sector and specifically supporting Newark families. For the last six years, Thompson worked at a public school in Newark, where she served as the lead point of contact for families in need of assistance in navigating the citywide common enrollment system.  

“During this challenging moment in education, it is more important than ever to help families learn about the many great school options in Newark,” said Thompson. “Our focus at My Schools Newark has been to listen and learn first and create a resource that is indeed needed and valued by parents. Our surveys, focus groups and interaction with schools and parents over the last several months point to a clear and resounding ‘YES!’ – that parents want more resources and find this type of tool useful. Most important, we see even greater potential to continue evolving this needed platform to ensure greater transparency and information sharing in the future.”

For more information on My Schools Newark, visit or visit the school explorer tool at:


These Newark Community-Based Organizations Will Receive Funds to Address Violence Reduction Strategies

NEWARK, NJ — Eight community-based organizations in Newark are receiving grant monies to head violence reduction initiatives across the city.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka announced Tuesday the organizations will be awarded grants as part of a $1 million violence reduction initiative through the city’s Office of Violence Prevention and Trauma Recovery. The monies, officials said, are aimed to help support the groups’ efforts to help youth and adults address trauma, health disparities and social determinants, specifically violence. The organizations will share in a portion of the grant money.

“It is a pleasure to announce the winners of these funds today and commend them on the excellence of Request for Proposals they submitted,” said Baraka. “They will turn plans into action to enhance the safety of Newark residents in our neighborhoods and school corridors, provide youth life skills classes, outreach teams to help youth recover from trauma, and much more. As this is a national issue, Newark is proud to be leading the way as a model city in innovative crime reduction strategies.”

The winners were announced following a community roundtable discussion hosted last month at the Training Recreation Education Center in the city’s South Ward. The event provided community leaders an opportunity to discuss efforts they have undertaken to address violence in the city as well as how they plan to spend their cash injections to further support these initiatives to protect residents.

“We know that it takes everything to be able to invest in creating change,” Lakeesha Eure, director of the city’s Office of Violence Prevention and Trauma Recovery, said during the roundtable meeting.

The groups that will receive the grants – pending City Council approval – are as follows:

All Stars Project of New Jersey (Citywide): Will provide the “Operation Conversation: Cops & Kids Program,” designed to create new conversations and positive interactions between Newark youth and Newark police officers.

Inspired By U (East and North wards): Will provide arts, music and cultural therapy programming, the Strengthening Families Program and a mentorship/follow-up component for all participants.

MorStrategies (South Ward): Will provide the New Direction School of Change, which will foster partnerships with vocational, social and leadership vendors to provide currently and formerly incarcerated participants with stipend-based training in fields of their particular interest, as well as mental health and life-skills support.

Newark Community Street Team (West Ward): Will expand their current Safe Passage, conflict resolution/mediation and mentorship and relationship building programs beyond the South Ward into the West Ward.

Newark Opportunity Youth Network (Citywide): Will provide youth ages 16 to 24 currently out of school and unemployed with education and workforce development opportunities.

Next Generation Project (South Ward): Will provide a quarterly curriculum module of weekly lessons, focusing on self and leadership development and prevention of violence for school-age youth in the South Ward.     

The HUBB Arts and Trauma Center (Central, West and South wards): Will provide Newark’s first youth high-risk interventionists (HRI) and credible messengers street outreach teams as well as a youth-focused Trauma Recovery Center.

Urban Care (North Ward): Will provide youth ages 11 to 17 life skills workshops, mental health counseling, family strengthening support, job readiness, substance abuse counseling, housing services, and conflict resolution.

“The Office of Violence Prevention and Trauma Recovery is excited to distribute the city’s first investment in community-based public safety and serve as the city’s clearinghouse for community-based organizations to receive critical funds to address violence as a public health issue in the wake of COVID-19,” said Eure.

The initiatives are backed by American Rescue Plan Act funding the city received to be allocated towards community-based violence intervention programming.

The city in recent years has seen significant investment in community-based public safety initiatives aimed to reduce violence. 

In November 2021, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka announced that the city would invest $19 million into violence reduction strategies over the next three years. The investment is aimed to bolster a number of actions the city has taken to enhance its public safety operations.

“This initial allocation marks the beginning of a $20 million commitment over the next three years to joint efforts between community organizations and the Department of Public Safety, as we realize that law enforcement cannot do this work alone,” said Eure.


Federal Omnibus Bill Has Money For Slate Of Projects In Newark

NEWARK, NJ — President Joe Biden has signed a $1.5 trillion federal omnibus spending bill, and it contains funds to pay for several projects in Newark, officials say.

Democrats and Republicans both scored political victories in the spending bill. Democrats were able to secure an agreement to increase domestic spending by 6.7 percent to $730 billion, while Republicans prevailed in a 5.6 percent increase in defense-related spending at $782 billion.

The sprawling, 2,741-page omnibus bill — the first major federal spending package of Biden’s administration — also funds the government through Sept. 30, the end of the federal fiscal year, and averted a partial government shutdown that would’ve occurred at midnight Friday. It sends $13.6 billion in emergency aid to Ukraine and NATO allies to bolster the nation’s defense against the Russian invasion. Read More: $1.5 Trillion Omnibus Spending Bill (5 Things To Know)

According to a joint statement from U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez and Cory Booker, there are several big wins for New Jersey in the omnibus bill, including Newark. They include:

University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey – Trauma Operating Room at
University Hospital, $3,870,000 –
 “Funding will be used to build University Hospital’s Trauma Operating Room and adjacent holding bays for recovery prior to transfer to the intensive care unit. The primary goal of this project is to improve health outcomes by controlling bleeding within the “golden hour” of a life threatening injury occurring – which is challenging, given the time it takes EMS to be called and arrive on scene, assess the patient and transport them to the hospital. The most skilled trauma teams struggle to get a patient to the operating room within the critical golden hour.”

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, for a Center for Educational Equity,
$500,000 (Camden, Newark, New Brunswick) – 
“The Center for Educational Equity will foster statewide collaborations to reduce equity gaps and improve educational outcomes for underserved students. Funding is requested to expand Rutgers’ ability to support the success of first-generation, low-income, and historically underrepresented students who reside in New Jersey and those that matriculate to the university. This will help prepare more students within the state to attend college and increase the university’s ability to more effectively recruit, retain, and develop communities that have been traditionally underserved.”

City of Newark, Water Loss Monitoring Program, $492,000 – “Newark’s unaccounted for water loss is over double the industry standard and likely the result of leaks in the water distribution system which may have been exacerbated by the replacement of over 19,000 lead service lines. This funding will purchase sensors that will be installed in the system to find and identify leaks quickly so they can be repaired. The result will be conservation of water, reduction of energy costs for pumping and treatment as well as reduction in costs for chemicals resulting in more stable utility bills for customers. The City of Newark has a repair and replacement program scheduled for its water distribution infrastructure; however, it is requesting funds to purchase permanent acoustic leak detection equipment to both help guide and prioritize the replacement program as well as help City staff to find small leaks and repair them before they become large breaks. The leak monitoring will allow for efficient use of City funds and savings from water losses which currently exist.”

Newark Community Street Team High Risk Intervention Expansion, $471,000 – “Funds will be used to expand NCST’s existing multi-pronged public safety strategy that reduces violence in Newark through the following components: The High Risk Intervention (HRI) team intervenes in conflicts, prevents retaliation, responds to requests for assistance and provides victim services to survivors of violence. Funding will be used to support the salaries of 4 HRI. Community Outreach Work: Outreach Workers provide mentoring through a case management model to those at greatest risk of becoming a victim or perpetrator of violence. Violence intervention services: By meeting the emergency needs of people connected to violence, NCST can diffuse incidents that can escalate to violence. Cities across the country are looking to the Newark Community Street Team (NCST) for expertise on how to reduce violence without relying on arrest and incarceration. The requested funding will allow NCST to further refine its ground-breaking model and further reduce violence in the South and West Wards of Newark. NCST has been a key component of Newark’s violence reduction strategy, that reversed a fifty year trend in increased violence in the City. Enhancing this work will address recent Covid-related spikes in violence and strengthen NCST’s ability to guide communities nationally.”

Menendez said other Newark projects that will receive funding include the Ironbound Community Health Center, which will get $550,000 for renovation and equipment.

“The funding will be used to renovate nine examination rooms/clinical support areas and purchase medical equipment to better serve and expand the needs of the medically underserved Newark community,” Menendez stated.

Booker said the omnibus bill will also power the following projects in Newark:

  • City of Newark, $8 million – “To create and preserve affordable housing to Newark residents with household incomes at or below 30% of area median income.”
  • City of Newark, $500,000 – “To rapidly rehouse individuals evicted at the end of the moratorium, to disburse rental arrears assistance, to mediate pre-eviction and to prevent eviction.”
  • Rutgers University-Newark, $300,000 – “To support the creation of a one-stop education and workforce development hub for opportunity youth and people re-entering communities from incarceration.”
  • New Jersey Institute of Technology, $154,000 – “To support a STEM boot camp for underserved, underrepresented and minority students to address gaps in pre-university preparation and make students from these communities more ready, capable and empowered to succeed in a collegiate STEM education.”