Van Jones, keynote speaker at upcoming Newark policy conference, on “Rebuilding the Dream” in Newark

Van Jones is the founder of the Rebuild the Dream advocacy group and author of a best-selling book by the same title, co-host of CNN’s Crossfire, and former special advisor for green jobs to president Barack Obama. Jones will be the keynote speaker at Leadership Newark’s public policy summit “Rebuilding the Dream that is Newark“, which takes place this coming Saturday, November 2, at Rutgers Newark. (Tickets for the summit are still available.) We spoke earlier this week about how Newark and cities like it can take advantage of green jobs and the tech economy. Here are excerpts from our conversation.

Newark isn’t an island, and a lot of the issues facing Newark are macro ones facing the entire country. How do we think of locally sourced and implemented solutions to those problems that also respect the broader context we have to contend with?

One of the things I’ve been stressing recently is that in any of our lower income communities, there’s a lot of hidden genius. If our kids were growing up in Bangladesh or India or China, they’d be very clear that we’d be doing computer coding. We haven’t been doing that in black communities. We tend to focus more on our traditional employment strategies: public sector, teaching, law degree. But the advanced degree of the new century is the MBA, not the JD. Rather than focusing so much on the humanities, we should be focusing more on math and science.

Environmental issues disproportionately affect black communities. How can we get them more on board with the environmental movement?

It’s actually a stereotype that African Americans are behind the curve. When you look at the polling data, we’re ahead of the curve. There’s now a huge section of white Americans who reject climate science and basic common sense on the environment. But if you ask African Americans, 86% would support Obama taking on climate change.

Second, we have a number of other issues we need to contend with. We need more work, more wealth, and more health.

And part of it is just continuing to create demonstrations of what the issue is about. African Americans don’t use the word “green”. We tend to say “natural”. We tend to say “healthy”. We ask questions like, “How do we eat more natural food, more healthy food?” We don’t say we want an “eco-friendly” diet. African Americans are becoming more health conscious, if nothing else because of the first lady promoting gardening, better food, and fitness. All those are quote unquote “green solutions”.

So if you take the labels away and just look at the behavior, we are very conscious and supportive of environmental initiatives. Conversations from the first lady about food have real resonance. Concerns about asthma, which is tied to pollution and indoor air quality, also have real resonance.

And how do we make the connection between environmentalism and work, wealth, and health more obvious?

We need to recognize where progress is happening. In fact, despite what we were talking about earlier, it’s probably locally where we’ll have more progress, because Washington, D.C. is so crippled by infighting and the Tea Party. Community gardening, weatherization programs, or public utility companies trying to do more wind and solar, all create more work, wealth, and health for communities.

There’s a lot happening in the economy that we need to pay attention to that’s positive, like the revolution in 3D manufacturing, where you can make stuff on your desktop that you use to have a factory for. What can that do for entrepreneurs who are creative in Newark?

In terms of an economic and jobs agenda, what areas should cities like Newark be investing in?

Computer programming is like a global mathematical language. I don’t know how to do computer coding, but I want to make sure our children do, because if you’re coding literate you can build our own companies. Coding, 3D manufacturing, robotics — that is the future. I’m working with a group teaching robotics in Africa because advanced manufacturing is the future: a robot will either put you out of job, or you can design the robot and have a job.

You don’t need the federal government, a march, or a protest to get that done. We need to just look at information available online, and make sure our children are connected to it. A lot is happening all around that we’re just not paying attention to.

I think that our community has been stuck in a politics of nostalgia and lament, looking backwards with grief over slavery and segregation, or at best a politics of critique of present disparities. This long list of stuff we don’t have. But Dr. King said, “I have a dream,” not “I have a lament.” What we don’t have is a politics of the black future. What is the black future and the urban future we’re trying to create?

Newark council candidate Brian Logan shares his goals and plan for the South Ward

I spoke with South Ward council candidate Brian Logan yesterday about his vision for its neighborhoods, and his plan for making that vision a reality. Logan is head football coach at Weequahic High School and 23 year veteran of the Newark Police Department, where he currently serves as a decorated detective on the force. His work has previously been covered in The Star Ledger. He’s aligned with councilman and mayoral candidate Anibal Ramos, whose public safety plan Logan recently endorsed.

What is the most pressing issue in the South Ward?

Right now I think the most pressing issue facing the South Ward is protection. The people don’t feel safe. Police layoffs, attrition from the department, community interaction, putting the “neighbor” back into the “hood” – all that’s gone. That’s why I’m running for the South Ward council.

What will you do to help turn that around?

As a police officer for 23 years, as a head high school football coach for 20 years, and as a man of the community that was born and raised here, I think I know the terrain better than anyone else. I have experience as a detective in the Police Athletic League, in the D.A.R.E. program, and working with a great gang resistance program.

We need to bring back the Youth Aid Bureau. When troubled teens are committing crime, it’s a way to track them to help them stay on the right page. Once they find themselves getting into trouble, you want to try to attract them so you can steer them in the right direction, whether it’s programs for intervention, job training, mentorships — that type of thing. It’s about letting the kid knows he’s of more value being a productive citizen than not.

Why do you think the city council is the most effective place from which to solve that problem?

Resources. City council is able to generate resources. You can always tap into more. They have the outlets to provide more recreational programs. They have the outlets to provide more beautification of the city. And the outlets to basically pass legislation on educational opportunities in terms of what’s going on in the city.

What’s your positive vision for the South Ward at its best?

The positive vision is economic development. The South Ward is one of the least developed wards in the city. There’s nothing going on here. Back when I was growing up, you had small mom-and-pop businesses that I was able to work at and earn $30 a week. That made me feel positive about myself. I was able to buy myself something small and contribute to what my family didn’t have.

Also, the small mom-and-pop stores bring people together. We would shop in the neighborhood. You had Cedric’s record shop, Four Leaves deli, which made great sandwiches. Now people are stuck up in their homes because there’s nothing here, and the shopping is minimal. People don’t get to interact with each other.

It was vibrant before – there was just so much to do. From recreation go education, the South Ward was booming when I was  a kid. And that’s why I want to be South Ward councilman, so I can bring that back. I remember when it meant a lot to put a Little League uniform on with a local business sponsoring your team, walking proud through the neighborhood with that business name on, doing great things in terms of playing sports, and being recognized.

What happened to the South Ward?

I think it was the product of jobs leaving the community as well as drugs coming in. I think the drug game kind of took away from the people in the neighborhood, kind of broke down families, broke down self esteem. It was just a horrible thing for the community.

How do you go about making that positive vision real?

We have to go out and make the community a safe place. It’s already a thriving market. You have public transportation from all over coming to Newark. I love what Cory Booker did for the city in terms of development, but he brought it downtown. We have to bring that back into the neighborhoods. And I think we can attract some great businesses to come here if we get our crime problem in check, and we start looking out for each other.

How do we get the crime problem in check?

We have to take back our community in terms of hiring more police officers, but we all know that we don’t want to over police. That’s not always the solution. But we are totally down in terms of policemen, so we need to hire some to protect the citizens.

Then the citizens need to step up and say, “Okay when the police come in and stabilize it, we need to keep it.” Put more walking teams in the neighborhood and get familiar with who’s supposed to be there and who’s not. If you want to loiter all day, you’re going to get picked up from the corner and dropped off at faith-based or nonprofit organization so you can get a skill and learn to work. Because nobody’s going to occupy these corners. Those days will be over. It’s not going to happen. You can’t do it in Hillside, and you won’t do it here.

We’re just trying to make sure that taxpaying citizens get what they deserve. They deserve to get out of their homes, exercise, meet and greet each other, and be neighbors and not hostages in their homes.

Why are you the ideal person for the council position? What case have you been making to South Ward residents?

Most of them know that I’m a neighborhood guy. You always see me in the neighborhood, and when you see me, I’m working by already being the head football coach of Weequahic, being a police officer. They know they’re going to get 100% honesty, that I’m going to be a fighter and be passionate about the community where I was born and raised and never left. I’m from Newark; I am Newark.

We’re about making the South Ward a priority so people can be safe here, people want to come here to do business, and people want to come here to have a great time.

More information about Logan is available on his website, www.brianklogan.com. His campaign also maintains a social media presence on Facebook (facebook.com/loganfornewark), on Twitter @BrainKLogan, and on Instagram @BrianKLogan.

Brick City Live previously interviewed South Ward council candidate Jarmaro “Dilettante” Bass.

From the BCL vault: Power restored after Hurricane Sandy, Halsey Street stalwarts get back to work

One year after Hurricane Sandy, a small tribute to the Newark shops on Halsey Street that got back to business the morning after the lights came back on downtown. After this story idea was approved but not printed on NJ.com, Brick City Live’s creator decided it was time to build a permanent home for her and others’ stories about the brilliance and resilience of Newarkers.

October 31, 2012

Mindy Singh inspects the dining area of the brand new Elbow Room eatery on Halsey Street, Wednesday, October 31, 2012. Elbow room's ribbon cutting is scheduled for November 8.

Mandy Singh inspects the dining area of the brand new Elbow Room eatery on Halsey Street, Wednesday, October 31, 2012. Elbow room’s ribbon cutting is scheduled for November 8.

NEWARK, N.J. – Signs hung precariously from joints, or were blown off altogether. A chunk of the historic Hahne and Company building lay scattered in jagged shards on the sidewalk. Newark Downtown District workers, clad in their bright yellow uniforms, reported damage via walkie-talkie, and cleared what they could.

But in spite of Hurricane Sandy’s clear mark on Halsey Street downtown Newark, many businesses there were open yesterday, the morning after Public Service Electric & Gas restored power to much of the city.

The drag of Halsey Street between Washington Park and Raymond Boulevard is notable in part because of the new businesses that have opened there in the last five years, but it was primarily the veterans who showed up to work yesterday, even as customers mostly stayed home.

Kilkenny manager Robert Lynch appeared to sprout multiple arms as he poured drinks, operated the cash register, wiped the counter, and kept an eye on the door, seemingly all at once.

“We’re light on customers today,” Lynch explained, his gaze sweeping across the eight men who sat at the bar.

Most of the patrons were trading war stories about the hurricane. One man, who watched a projector screen attentively as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo briefed the press on the hurricane aftermath, declined a plastic bag for his takeout order.

“I’m just going down the street,” he said to Lynch. “You might need to save those for the next few days.”

A crowded Central Restaurant, the only Halsey Street eatery north of Raymond Boulevard besides Kilkenny that is open every day of the week, was the only packed business on the strip.

Inside at lunchtime, the diner was heavily staffed, and every booth and barstool was occupied. A waitress paused between answering phones and taking orders to take in the sight of a swelling gaggle of customers. She sighed heavily.

“Don’t worry, we’re practicing patience,” a waiting customer reassured her, snapping the waitress out of her stupor.

Past Michael Lamont Neckwear, 27 Mix, Karma Consignment Shop, The Coffee Cave, and Elbow Room – all closed – Cut Creators barber shop, a nine-year-old business and recent transplant to Halsey Street, was open for business.

“So far we’ve had four customers,” said receptionist Anthony Smith of Elizabeth, who lounged on a white couch in the back of the shop. He and a barber, who sat in a chair near the front, were manning the empty shop while watching the same channel on different televisions. “We typically have 10 to 15.”

Smith was still without power when he left his residence yesterday morning, but he said the promise of blackout relief is not what convinced him to open the shop. “The power was on, so I just decided we should be open,” he said.

Many of the Halsey Street business managers and owners who decided to open yesterday made the same, simple calculation.

“Last night the power came on, so I figured we might as well open,” said John Trainello, owner of Art Kitchen. Like the other Halsey Street establishments that saw property damage, Art Kitchen experienced minor nicks and cuts. Trainello also said food spoilage was only a minor problem.

Kyle Beloved, owner of Beloved R Kutz unisex salon, opened at 7:30 AM, his normal time.

“I got a few phone calls yesterday asking if I’d be open,” Beloved said, as he lined the beard of Darnell Bunche, his sole customer at the time. “I just want to make sure I’m here for my clients.”

Beloved said that besides moving the shop’s sign, which had blown into the stairwell, Hurricane Sandy left no major trace. Like most of the other businesses, he’d seen only a fraction of his normal daily traffic by midday.

The impetus to open was the same for Underground Tattoos, Halsey Cleaners, Halsey Fabric Shop, Queen Pizza, and Joe’s Shoe Shop. But while those Halsey Street mainstays wanted to maintain normalcy for their customers, the owners of newbie establishment Elbow Room sought to ensure they were on track to have an impressive coming-out at their ribbon cutting, scheduled for November 8.

“We had a 12-hour outage, so we have to assess everything,” said Mandy Singh, general manager of the Brooklyn-based restaurant’s Halsey Street location. Joel Bolden, the restaurant’s owner, pulled up in his truck just as Singh arrived at the restaurant by foot.

The pair carefully inspected the newly renovated space, making their way from the dining area on the ground floor to the basement, where the food storage and offices are located.

“No water!” she said with a broad smile, as she peered inside a storage closet.

“No water damage!” Bolden echoed from another basement-level room.

The pair looked relieved. “The last thing we need,” said Singh, “is a natural disaster to delay us.”

TravelingMad Postcard: A Night in the Desert

I needed a break from the US and decided to visit one of my new favorite places. I booked a ticket to Marrakech, Morocco, where I’d spent a week a year ago for a wedding. I was able to explore, taste, see, do. The city is not for the faint of heart. It’s bursting at the seams with tourists, peddlers, snake charmers and the like.

I scheduled a tour to the Sahara desert directly with my hostel, Mama Marrakech. I made a quick phone call and was told I’d be picked up the next morning between 7 and 7:30am, and that breakfast would be ready before then. Probably due to excitement, I woke up on my own around 6:30. I had already packed my bag the night before.

A delicious meal of flat bread drenched with honey, fried eggs, a biscuit and mint tea was served. Me and two other travelers discussed what clothes we had packed. What does one wear when riding a camel? We had no idea. We just assumed some type of long pants.

After about 7 hours of driving, sightseeing and bathroom breaks, we could not have been more relieved when our van pulled up to a caravan of camels resting and guides dressed in gandoras and turbans. This was the moment we had all been waiting for! I couldn’t wait to ride a camel through the desert.

Mounting the camel was quick and without ceremony. The guide said, “Hold on here. Squeeze.” A command was given to the camel and he rose on all fours. I was up high — camels are tall! I grinned with excitement but also held on for life. We thanked our driver and were off.

My travel buddy said, “You know we’re not in America, because there was no disclaimer.” I agreed. We joked that if we were in the US we would have had to fill out multiple release forms and emergency contact information. At minimum we would have been given some emergency words. I thought to myself, “How do I say STOP in Arabic? What’s my guide’s name? How do I say HELP?” Well, this was Africa, not America. No worries. And thankfully, I didn’t need to use any of those phrases.

During the ride, we all photographed the beautiful mountains, sand dunes and each other. Earlier I was holding on for dear life, but by the end I was snapping selfies! We gave our camels names. I named my camel Aziz. I thought it was appropriate, and I’ve always liked that name. Aziz was obedient, and we had a pleasant journey through the desert.

After a couple of hours we arrived at our camp site. The tents were different – much better than what I was expecting. It was dusk when we arrived. We were told we could come into the large tent with everyone. I saw shisha (hooka) and asked if they were going to smoke. The guide said yes, and that there was beer in the tent. (I later found out this was a joke; most Moroccans don’t drink alcohol. Neither do I, so I wasn’t disappointed.)

Our guide poured us mint tea, and we all said cheers. Everyone was asked where they were from and what languages we spoke. I was very impressed that many people in Morocco speak Arabic, French, English, Spanish, German and likely other languages. They will collect tourist money in any language you speak! Outside the tent was a fire, and the guides sang and played drums. I laid down to watch the stars. I have never seen so many. I actually saw shooting stars. It was beautiful. Breathtaking.

We rose early to watch the sun rise. I was completely in awe. It really is a bit indescribable. It was time for Aziz and I to head out of the desert. I was saddened to see the vans waiting for us in the distance. My dream trip to the desert in Africa had come to an end. I said goodbye and thank you to the guides in Arabic, but not forever. I will be back. I returned to America with a new sense of peace. The desert is bigger than me, and all of my menial stressors back home seemed to dry up and float away with the wind. This was an unforgettable journey. I think everyone should do it!

Go to the Moroccan desert. It will change your life.

 –  TravelingMad

P.S. Check out more of the photos from my trip on the TravelingMad Facebook page.

TravelingMad is a Newark native and world traveler. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter, and be sure to read her Street Style & Profile feature by Citi Medina.

Five things we’re thinking about: Week of October 28

This week, we’re 1) getting ready for TedXBroadStreet, 2) stargazing at NJPAC, 3) re-watching last week’s mayoral forum on education, 4) contemplating this weekend’s anti-violence rally, and 5) marking our calendars for November 1, the day our artist-in-residence feature launches on BCL.

What else should we be thinking about? Tweet #fivethings @brickcitylive, or leave a comment below. Wondering why the stories on Brick City Live look the way they do? Read this essay.

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TedXBroadStreet is this coming Saturday

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The independently organized conference is coming to Rutgers Business School this Saturday. Tickets for the live event are on sale for $40, and the event’s organizers will offer a free live stream of the event on their site, as well as viewing parties around town. Per their website, the purpose of TedXBroadStreet:

Created in the spirit of TED’s mission, “ideas worth spreading,” TEDxBroadStreet “Reach. Rise. Revive”, locally developed and organized, will give Newark stakeholders the opportunity to stimulate dialogue and create positive grass roots change on a variety of topics critical to the revitalization and sustainability of the city.

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‘Black Girls Rock!’ honors Queen Latifah, Venus Williams, Patti Labelle at NJPAC – The Star Ledger/NJ.com

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Per The Star Ledger, Queen Latifah addressed the significance of the taping being in Newark:

“It’s from my peers, from my ladies,” Latifah said. “I’m happy it’s happening in Newark. I was born here, and I always try to come home, to let everyone know in Newark, Irvington, East Orange, Jersey City, that we can dream, and we can make those dreams reality.”

Read the full story and view the photo slideshow at NJ.com.

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Newark groups, celebrities, citizens and supporters converge on Lincoln Park for anti-violence rally

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“The Funeral” featured remarks by victims’ family members, community leaders, young spoken word artists and singers, and celebrities. Pictured above: rapper Rah Digga.

Image credit: Andaiye Taylor

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Newark’s four mayoral candidates debate education

Brick City Live published an account of the four-way debate last Friday. The full debate is now available online.

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We’re launching an artist-in-residence feature

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Every month, Brick City Live will chose a visual artist working in Newark to take over our Arts section with their work, their thoughts, and their inspiration. Our first artist-in-residence will be Timothy Dingman, the photographer who captured Open Doors for us. We have our next few months locked up, but if you’re interested in contributing work on a one-off basis, or contributing as an artist-in-residence next year, email arts@brickcitylive.com.

Image credit: Timothy Dingman

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Newark mayoral candidates debate education

mayoral-candidate-tableau

The inside of the Science Park High School auditorium, packed with Newarkers of all ages, had the congenial air of a reunion before last night’s four-way mayoral forum on education among candidates Ras Baraka, Shavar Jeffries, Anibal Ramos, and Darrin Sharif got underway.

That all changed after moderator Marsha Wilson Brown brought the forum to order. Ras Baraka, introduced last, received the most thunderous applause. Some of his supporters vehemently heckled Jeffries throughout the night.

Rhetorically, each of the candidates picked a theme early on, and each one hammered it in their responses to the moderator’s questions throughout the hour and a half long debate. Jeffries’ message was about experience and results. He frequently touted his work as assistant attorney general during the debate, citing it as experience on the law enforcement, special needs education, and school choice issues facing the city.

Sharif made frequent references to partnerships and leveraging the city’s assets, speaking often about bringing the city’s universities and small businesses to bear on problems ranging from special needs issues in classrooms to putting together a creative financing mix to rebuild Newark’s aging schools.

Ramos’ message was process-oriented. When asked what it was realistically possible for the mayor’s office to do about the city’s schools, his first pointed out that the mayor is not the superintendent of schools, and suggested the mayor could be most effective if he “remove[d] obstacles” to effective management of the school system. On improving the safety of children walking to and from school, he proposed “better coordination” between the Newark Board of Education’s security team and the Newark Police Department.

Baraka’s overarching theme was collectivism, and taking a holistic approach to solving the city’s problems. While he acknowledged that the city needs more police along high-crime corridors, he ultimately concluded that “police are not the answer”, and that investment in education is the best solution. In contrast to Ramos’ comment about the separation between the mayor and the superintendent of schools, Baraka pointed out that “Newark schools are not separate from the city” and that, too often, decisions about the schools are made without their impact on the broader community in mind.

With a few exceptions, the candidates’ differences on the substance of the issues were mostly marginal. As each took turns answering the moderator’s questions, they mostly distinguished themselves by pivoting off of each other, and extending the debates to include their proprietary ideas and unique insights.

For example, on an audience-submitted question about how the schools should deal with autism, there was little daylight between the candidates about providing autistic students with resources and support. But Sharif proposed in addition that Newark look to its colleges and universities to bring research-based solutions to bear, while Jeffries broadened the framework of the question by pointing out that black and Latino youth, particularly boys, are overclassified for the condition, and that solutions for truly autistic students are not appropriate for them.

A few skirmishes over ideas did emerge, though. There was some wrangling over the particulars of why Newark lost local control of schools, with Baraka asserting that other New Jersey districts with similarly low QSAC scores retained local control, while Sharif insisted that corruption in the Newark School District was a significant impetus for the state takeover.

There was also a contentious exchange over the context around the current ranking of Central High School, where Baraka is principal. Jeffries criticized Baraka for Central being at the bottom of the state rankings, while Baraka said the school had made progress during his tenure as principal. He also focused on the plights of the students who feed into the school, saying it was a “miracle” that the school was able to turn their educational outcomes around to the extent that they had.

Although substantive points broke through, though, the debate was frequently punctuated by rancor. The reactions from the crowd, and in large part of some of Baraka’s supporters when Jeffries spoke, gave the forum a greater air of contention than the candidates’ actual differences on the issues would have otherwise suggested.

During the exchange over Central High School’s track record, a few audience members wearing Baraka t-shirts used epithets against Jeffries, and even accused him of advocating “genocide”, a bastardized reference to Jeffries’ statement last year that a child of color not being on track to earning a high school diploma is metaphorical genocide for that child.

Baraka himself derisively referred to Jeffries on a few occasions as “the professor”. For his part, Jeffries asserted during the Central High School exchange that a “movement based upon catcalling, division, incivility, anger, [and] bitterness” would not serve the people of Newark.

“Our students are watching this tonight,” said moderator Brown, referring to the crowd reactions during the forum. “I wonder what they think.”

TravelingMad Postcard: A novice’s guide to Amsterdam

Amsterdam, Holland

I would ask what the first thing is that comes to your mind after seeing the city name, but this is a family website, and I am not about to write about the “special” cafes, adult museums or red light district.

Seriously though, the city is full of culture and art at every turn. Describing all the city has to offer could take up an entire website, so I will provide a few highlights:

  • Van Gogh Museum – There’s something different about standing face to face with Van Gogh’s paintings. They are really spectacular and worth a few hours of your time.
  • Anne Frank House – History is well preserved at the Anne Frank house. This is an educational trip.
  • Heineken – Take a tour of a world-famous beer factory.
  • Tulips – People come from all over the world to see the seemingly endless fields of beautiful tulips.
  • Canal tours – The city is mostly water. A canal tour is a fun way to see the city, and you’ll also get great views of the popular houseboats.

Check out my Amsterdam experience in photos.

Coalition of Newark community groups to hold mock funeral to address violence

A coalition of community-based organizations, community leaders, funeral homes, and local small businesses, all lead by the organization 211 Community Impact, formed to host a rally to metaphorically “bury” violence in the city with a mock funeral this Saturday. The event will include processions starting from each of Newark’s five wards.

Inspired by an impromptu conversation, Dupre Kelly, member the hip-hop group Lords of the Underground and cofounder and chair of 211 Community Impact, organized this coalition of community stakeholders for this symbolic stand against the violence affecting Newark’s communities, with the ultimate goal of highlighting the impact that violence has on community members, as well as articulating a message of community healing and renewal.

In addition to attracting partners at the national level who are committed to a public dialog about the root causes of violence, the event’s organizers also seek to build and promote a positive campaign about Newark, its residents, and its assets.

The program itself will be held at Lincoln Park, and will run from 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm. It will consist of youth speakers, remarks from leaders of community organizations, statements from victims’ families, readings from the Bible and the Quran, a prayer in Spanish, and tributes from local choirs and singers. Political candidates, while welcome to attend, will not be allowed to speak during the program.

Procession information:

Start time: 9:30 AM
Departure time: 11:00 AM
Procession locations:

  • North Ward: La Casa de Don Pedro, 39 Broadway
  • South Ward: Valley Fair
  • East Ward: Riverview Terrace
  • West Ward: Sacred Heart Church at Sanford & South Orange Avenues
  • Central Ward: Cityplex Theater

Five things we’re thinking about: Week of October 21

This week, we’re 1) contemplating Booker’s US Senate win, 2) anticipating a glut of new marriages in the state in light of a judge’s sanctioning marriage equality, 3) parsing The Star Ledger’s endorsement of governor Chris Christie over state senator Barbara Buono in the New Jersey gubernatorial race, 4) tallying the financial toll of the government shutdown, and 5) checking out Newark photographer Tim Dingman’s Open Doors photos.

What else should we be thinking about? Tweet #fivethings @brickcitylive, or leave a comment below. Wondering about why the stories on Brick City Live look the way they do? Read this essay.

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New Jersey elects Newark mayor Cory Booker as 4th popularly elected black Senator in American history

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The New York Times put his win in context:

Mr. Booker brought excitement to a city that has long struggled to shake off the cloud of the riots that nearly destroyed it 46 years ago. And with his national profile, he also attracted more business development, including Newark’s first new hotel and supermarket in decades, and millions of dollars in philanthropy, including a $100 million pledge to the city’s long-failing schools from the Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg….

Still, the campaign “made Booker more human, less Superman,” said David Redlawsk, the director of the Rutgers poll, pointing to the drops in his favorability.

The question now for Mr. Booker is how he plays his celebrity in the Senate, a chamber where show horses tend to stumble.

He has promised that he will continue to live in Newark. He has also said he intends to keep up his presence on Twitter.

Read the Times’ full story on Booker’s win here, and watch his victory speech below.

Image credit: Flickr user JD Lasica

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Elation, confusion accompany New Jersey same-sex marriage ruling, which enable weddings to begin today

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Via USA Today:

With the advent of same-sex marriage in New Jersey, couples are thrilled and, in many cases, confused about how to proceed.

Advocates and others are claiming that the state of New Jersey did not give ample instructions to town clerks and others on how to administer marriage licenses to same-sex couples…Several couples planned to marry minutes after the state began recognizing the unions. Yet other said they had not been able to get a license. New Jersey law requires that couples wait three days between obtaining a license and getting married.

Read the full story in USA Today

Image credit: Flickr user Fibonacci Blue

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The government reopens

US Capitol

After being shut down for 16 days, the government finally reopened last week. Still, the shutdown took a toll. According to Time Magazine and other sources, the shutdown cost $24 billion. The costs via Time.

  • About $3.1 billion in lost government services, according to the research firm IHS

  • $152 million per day in lost travel spending, according to the U.S. Travel Association

  • $76 million per day lost because of National Parks being shut down, according to the National Park Service

  • $217 million per day in lost federal and contractor wages in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area alone

Read Time Magazine’s full story.

Image credit: Flickr user kereifsnyder

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The Star Ledger endorses Christie for governor

chris christie

Why? In The Star Ledger’s words:

Our own view is that Christie is overrated. His spin is way ahead of his substance…Why then, are we endorsing him for a second term? Because his challenger, state Sen. Barbara Buono, is a deeply flawed candidate.

Read their full rationale here.

Image credit: Flicker user Bob Jagendorf

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Check out our Open Doors coverage

from-arts-council

Open Doors’ principal photographer Tim Dingman has been chronicling the festivities in pictures all week. Check out our special Tim Dingman Open Doors section here, and look for an exciting announcement regarding Tim Dingman and Brick City Live’s art coverage in a week or so.

Image credit: Timothy Dingman

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TEDxBroadStreet tickets go on sale today

Tickets for TEDxBroadStreet, which will take place Saturday, November 2 from 9:30 AM to 6pm at Rutgers Business School, went on sale today. Tickets cost $40 and are available here.

Participants can also take part via free viewing events across Newark, and via free webcast provided by the TEDxBroadStreet organizers on the website starting at 9:30 the morning of the event. The conference will include talks on economic empowerment, community healing, the Newark brand, food access, sustainable communities, youth empowerment, and women in leadership. See TEDxBroadStreet’s website for their full speaker listing.