Gallery Aferro’s roving portrait studio will meet Newarkers where they are

art cardGallery Aferro, the art gallery located downtown at 73 Market Street, is gearing up to reach a lot deeper into Newark with its latest project. I visited gallery co-director Evonne Davis inside the home of that project — a van that has been outfitted to function as a mobile portrait studio — yesterday outside One Newark Center at McCarter Highway and Mulberry Streets. The Gallery Aferro team was preparing to debut the portrait studio in time for the official kickoff toast for Newark Celebration 350, which would be held 22 floors up at the Newark Club just two hours later. Evonne talked to me about plans to use the mobile studio to capture photographs of Newarkers all around the city throughout the spring and summer.

Andaiye Taylor: So where are we?

Evonne Davis: You are inside of Gallery Aferro’s mobile portrait studio!

Andaiye: And what’s the project all about?

Evonne: Aferro always had a mobile attitude. We really want to do things that are not inside a whitespace gallery.

We’re going to do [Newark] Celebration 350 portraits in here. Instead of having people come to us, were going to go to the neighborhoods. We’ll let them know about our downtown location in the process, but I’m interested in capturing people in places like the laundromat on a Sunday morning. We want to get a real interaction with everyday citizens of Newark doing everyday things.

There are a lot of other portrait projects and photographers that have inspired us, like Akintola Hanif, Tamara Fleming, and Colleen Gutwein, so we’re hoping to link to things they’re working on as well. In October, we’ll present “three hundred fifty portraits of Newark” during Open Doors [the annual citywide art festival].


Andaiye: You probably know that there was a panel discussion at Aljira yesterday about the new Express Newark space [soon to launch in the redeveloped Hahne’s building]. There was a conversation about how galleries interface with the broader community. How does the portrait studio address that?

Evonne: Gallery Aferro was started by three kids from art school that felt marginalized by the greater art community. I come from incredibly creative, working class people who wouldn’t necessarily go to an art gallery because they didn’t feel like it belonged to them. It’s one thing to have people feel welcome at an art gallery, but I think they need to feel like an important part of what’s happening there.

And we’re so busy with the gallery and programs that we don’t always get to go out and see all of Newark. So this is also that opportunity to get to know people in their own element.

Photography is about looking at things and looking at people. I’m not talking about a gaze — I mean using it a way to be known and have your story known. Newark is its people. The citizens of a city are the city. That’s what we want to show with the mobile studio.

Andaiye: Have you set a schedule yet? Do you know what the cadence of your outings is going to be?

Evonne: We have a couple events confirmed, and we’re working with our board members – real Newark-centric folks – to find more community partners. We’re starting with events because it’s a good way to access a lot of people, but we’re also thinking about other ways to find people, like talking to Teixeira [bakery] about parking out in their lot and taking portraits of people who work there. We’d love to get to Vailsburg, where there’s a beautiful mural on a wall next to the park. I’d love to do something in Weequahic Park.

You’re sitting in just three weeks of work. There was a lot of planning among us before that, but we only confirmed that we were definitely doing this a few weeks ago. So we didn’t want to approach people and get them excited, and then come back and say it wasn’t going to happen.


Evonne Davis poses inside Gallery Aferro’s mobile portrait studio a few hours before its debut.

Andaiye: Can people raise their  hands and say, “I want to participate?”

Evonne: We made a flyer that we’ll distribute. We have to think about budget and timing, so we’ll make the arrangement if it’s something we’re able to do. In September, we’ll have to go into production mode to get ready for the exhibition.

Someone presented the idea of putting the three hundred fifty photos in this van and making it a mobile gallery. That could be interesting.

Andaiye: You mentioned other photographers who inspired the project. Where did you get the inspiration for the mobile aspect?

Evonne: I’ve always done things mobile. With Aferro, we thought we were going to be around for one year, but it’s been ten. So I’ve always thought about movement. As a curator, I’m not interested in traditional spaces. I’ve done shows in a wedding tent and in the back of a car. I think nontraditional spaces are more democratic.

Learn more about Gallery Aferro at Visit them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.



Apply for GrassROOTS Community Foundation’s ‘Super Camp’ for elementary and middle school girls

opportunities cardPublic health and social action organization GrassROOTS Community Foundation (GCF) is again offering a summer camp for girls, and this summer they’re expanding the program to address middle schoolers in addition to the elementary school girls they served last year.

The organization, which centers health and wellness within a more holistic set of programs and initiatives for girls, will offer leadership training, confidence building, historical and cultural instruction, mentorship, community service opportunities, and a weekly internship project to Essex County girls of African decent who are admitted to the program. The program is grounded in the principles of Ma’at, which emphasizes truth telling, order, balance, and reciprocity, and employs yoga practice in order to underscore several of those areas.


The “Seedlings” program is for girls in first through fourth grade, and the “Leaves” program is for girls in grades five through eight. Written applications for both programs are due this Saturday, April 2nd. The application calls for the student’s grades, most and least favorite subject, a statement about their interest in the camp from both the student and the parent and, for the “Leaves” applicants, an essay about social justice, among other information.

A separate financial aid application is due on April 12th. (The program costs $1,600, and financial aid can cover up to 75% of the total cost, or $1,200.)

The camp will take place at The Episcopal Church of St. Andrew and Holy Communion in South Orange from July 11th through August 5th.

Parents discuss how Super Camp enhanced their daughters’ well being:

The deadline to apply for the program is Saturday, April 2nd. Apply for the “Seedlings” program (grades 1 -4) here, and apply for “Leaves” (grades 5 – 8) here.

Science camp at NJIT seeks aspiring scientists and innovators for all-expenses-paid summer 2016 program

opportunities cardNew Jersey Institute of Technology will once again host the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp, a two-week, all-expenses-paid camp for bright students entering sixth, seventh or eighth grades in the fall of 2016. The camp promotes science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and supports historically underserved and underrepresented students.

The theme of this summer’s camp, which runs July 10 – July 22, is “Engineering Your Place in Space.” During the camp, students will work on fun hands-on activities, experiments, projects and field experiences to enrich their math, science, technology and communication skills. The campers will attend classes aimed to enhance their problem solving, research, critical thinking and communication skills. Certified secondary teachers, university faculty and other professionals will serve as instructors.

The camp will be held on the NJIT campus and housing is provided in the Cypress Hall dormitory, giving the students an early sense of what it’s like to live on a college campus. Camp participants will be selected from Essex, Union, Passaic, Hudson and Bergen counties, which are within a 10 miles radius of the NJIT campus. NJIT will accept 36 students — half girls, half boys — into the camp.  Click Here For Application.

NJIT has hosted the camp since 2007. It is the only university in the New York metro region to host this camp and one of only 10 universities in the nation.


“NJIT is proud to be a part of a program that has such a significant impact on our local students,” said Suzanne Berliner Heyman, executive camp director. “We believe the knowledge these young students gain during the camp will increase their passion for science and math throughout their lives.”

Questions about the camp should be directed to the Center for Pre-College Programs at 973-596-3550, or visit The center, the oldest and most successful pre-college program in the state, runs the camp in partnership with the ExxonMobil Foundation and the The Harris Foundation.

Bernard Harris, the camp founder, is the first African-American astronaut to walk in space. He’s a veteran of two space shuttle missions and a former NASA researcher. Today, Harris dedicates himself to his camp and to educating young people about the glories of science, technology, engineering and math.

Since 2006, ExxonMobil Foundation has partnered with Harris to host summer science camps at academic institutions across the country. Each year, the camps provide more than 1,200 middle school students, mostly from urban districts, with the opportunity to participate in lessons and activities provided by NASA and The Harris Foundation. ExxonMobil Foundation is the primary philanthropic arm of Exxon Mobil Corp.

“Our camp is designed to offer students of promise the opportunity to see what a career in STEM would be like,” said Harris, president of The Harris Foundation. “Through this experience, we are helping build the next generation of innovators.”

Take advantage of free tax preparation for low- and moderate income Newark residents

The City of Newark is offering free tax preparation services to low- and moderate-income Newarkers — defined as those earning $54,000 dollars a year or less — through April 15th (the Federal Income Tax filing deadline). The program, which is run locally by certified volunteers, is a local instance of the federal Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program launched by the Internal Revenue Service in 2005, and meant to encourages people in urban areas to take advantage of the earned income-tax credit and other refunds and credits allowable by law.


Locations and operating hours are as follows:

  • Newark City Hall – 920 Broad Street, Room B-1, Newark NJ 07102; Open: Monday-Friday: 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. En Español. Appointment not required. Through April 15th.
  • Newark Emergency Services for Families – 982 Broad Street, Newark NJ 07102; Open: Monday-Friday: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. En Español. Appointment not required. Through April 18th.
  • Essex County College – 303 University Avenue, Newark, NJ 07102; Open: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. En Español. Appointment required. Through April 15th.
  • B.R.I.C.K. Avon Academy – 219 Avon Avenue, Newark, NJ 07103; Open: Tuesday, Thursday: 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. En Español. Appointment not required. Through April 18th.
  • B.R.I.C.K. Peshine Academy – 433 Peshine Avenue, Newark, NJ 07103; Open, Wednesday, Thursday: 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Appointment not required. Through April 18th.
  • Newark Legacy Charter School – 823 South 16th Street, Newark, NJ 07103; Open: Wednesday: 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Appointment not required. Through April 18th.

What to bring:

  • For married filing joint, both spouses must be present
  • All Forms W-2 and 1099
  • Information for other income
  • Information for all deductions/credits
  • A copy of last year’s tax return
  • Proof of account for direct deposit of refund
  • Social Security cards or Individual Taxpayer Identification notices/cards for you, your spouse, and/or dependents
  • Proof of identification for yourself and/or your spouse
  • Total paid to day care provider and their tax ID number
  • Birth dates for you, spouse and/or dependents on the return
  • Proof of foreign status if applying for ITIN
  • Forms 1095-A, B or C (ACA Statements)
  • For prior year returns, copies of income transcripts from IRS (and state, if applicable)

En Español:

Asistencia en español en la preparación del impuesto. NJCA proveerá preparadores de planillade impuestos capacitados. Este servicioes gratuito. Número de teléfono: 973–733–4820


  • Newark City Hall– 920 Broad St., Room B1. Horas: lunes – viernes: 3pm –8pm; sábado: 10am – 2pm
  • Newark Emergency Services– 982 Broad St. Horas: lunes – viernes: 10am – 1pm
  • Essex County College – 303 University Ave. Horas: martes, miércoles, jueves: 11am – 6pm
  • B.R.I.C.K. Avon Academy – 219 Avon Ave. Horas: martes & jueves: 1pm – 7pm
  • B.R.I.C.K. Peshine Academy – 433 Peshine Ave. Horas: miércoles & jueves: 1pm – 6pm
  • Newark Legacy Charter School – 823 South 16th St. Horas: miércoles: 1pm – 6pm; viernes: 2pm – 6pm

Lo que necesita llevar al sitio VITA:

  • Prueba de identidad (con fotografía)
  • Su tarjeta de Seguro Social, de su cónyuge y sus dependientes
  • La carta en donde se le asigna un número de Identificación Personal del Contribuyente (ITIN), puede utilizarse como sustituto para usted, su cónyuge y sus dependientes si no tiene número de Seguro Social
  • Prueba de estatus de extranjero, si solicitó un ITIN
  • Fecha de nacimiento suya, de su cónyuge y los dependientes que figuran en la declaración de impuestos
  • Comprobantes de salarios e ingresos (Formularios W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, 1099-MISC) de todos sus empleadores
  • Estados bancarios de intereses y dividendos (Formularios 1099)
  • Todos los formularios 1095, Health Insurance Statements (Declaración del Mercado de Seguros Médicos)
  • Certificado de Exención de Cobertura Médica, si lo recibió
  • Copia de la declaración federal y estatal del año anterior, si las tiene
  • Comprobante de número de tránsito bancario y número de cuenta para depósito directo tal como un cheque en blanco
  • Para presentar la declaración electrónica de impuestos conjunta, ambos cónyuges deben estar presentes para firmar los formularios necesarios
  • Monto total pagado a proveedores de cuidados en guarderías y el número de identificación tributaria del proveedor (tal como el número de Seguro Social del proveedor o el número de Identificación de Empleador del negocio)
  • Formularios 1095-A, B o C, documentos relacionados con el Cuidado de Salud a Bajo Precio
  • Copias de transcripciones de ingreso de parte del IRS y estatales, si tiene alguna

West Ward Diary #11: No news is good news

neighborhoods cardThere is a wonderful mailbox near my home. I discovered it a decade ago. It is in front of the highrise senior residence between Oak Avenue and Grove Street. About this time of year, when we get one or two nice days, I like to go for a walk. I like to chat with the residents when they sit outdoors on the benches, and from time to time, I join them.

The building is several stories high and it is brown. It bears a striking resemblance to the Social and Behavioral Sciences building at my alma mater, Stony Brook University. I earned my masters degree in history in that building. That building also loomed large over everything around it. Back in 2003 when I first moved into my home around the corner, my next door neighbor Jay (who is my mentor and my dear friend) pulled up next to me in his black car with his black tinted windows.


As the black electric window opened I recognized my neighbor looking at me incredulously. “Kathy! What are you doing?” I told him I was mailing my car registration bill. Jay said, “Do you want a ride? What happened to your car?” I told him I was getting fresh air. Jay looked down and shook his head. Over the years, Jay eventually got used to seeing me walking (then jogging…and after I blew out my ankle, walking again) around the neighborhood.

These days, Jay says he always knows spring is coming because he sees me “out walking around.”

Just yesterday Jay and I saw one another in our garages. Whenever we see one another we always meet in the middle of the road, and we always hug. Jay always says, “Kathy! When are you going to get MARRIED?”

I always reply with a smile, “Jay, don’t hold your breath!” After this greeting we discuss the latest news in our lives. When we part company I hug Jay.

He looks me in the eye and he says, “Call me if you need anything.”

Sometimes life is made up of repetition. Of ritual. Of deriving joy from looking out for someone. Of breathing in the spring air. Of a running joke between friends. Thirteen years later, I am still the newest resident on my block. Sometimes repetition is beautiful.

A marathon computer coding session to attack serious issues affecting Newark youth

participate cardOn Saturday, March 26th, a number of computer programmers, graphic designers, community activists, and other community members are scheduled to meet at Newark City Hall for an all-day, hands-on session meant to apply the art of code to serious issues that affect Newark youth.

During HackNewark, programmers will get access to relevant data in order to produce visualizations, analytics and apps that can facilitate solutions to a specific set of local problems.

The “client” for Saturday’s civic hackathon will be my My Brother’s Keeper Newark, the local answer to President Barack Obama’s 2014 My Brother’s Keeper Challenge, the goal of which is to bring business and nonprofit resources together to eliminate both the opportunity and achievement gaps for boys and young men of color.


William Simpson, Director of My Brother’s Keeper Newark, will present three challenges at the start of the day: ensuring all youth graduate from high school; ensuring all youth complete post-secondary education or training; and ensuring all youth remain safe from violent crime. Those in attendance will then form cross-functional teams that, ideally, include a mix of coders, designers, organizers, activists, and others, then formulate a project idea related to one or more of the challenges, and use the data provided to create visualizations, analytics, and apps that represent a step towards solving those challenges. They’ll do this all over the course of a couple hours.

The teams will then pitch their projects before a panel of judges, who will pick the winner.

The goal of a hackathon is to use a mix of specific objectives, cross-functional teams (technical expertise and knowledge of the issue at hand are ideal), and tight time frames to quickly create useful prototypes of technologies that can solve specific problems, large and small.

The GroupMe chat service now owned by Microsoft, the Facebook “Like” button and timeline, and other successful apps have emerged from hackathon sessions. Many technology companies host internal hackathons that produce features for other products. The hope for HackNewark is that the session points the way to a piece of civic technology that can produce positive outcomes for the city.

Stay tuned to learn more about the ideas that emerge from HackNewark.

Hack Newark takes place Saturday, March 26th at Newark City Hall, 920 Broad Street, from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. To attend, RSVP here.


Ode to ‘Brick City’: Newark doesn’t have to change its nickname to upgrade its identity

perspectives cardI recently had a spirited discussion with a local gallerist — a Newark lover who keeps an ear to the ground concerning any developments that might bode negatively for efforts to make the city a more desirable destination for business and pleasure.

I learned during that conversation that some who care about Newark are starting to think it’s time to move beyond “Brick City” as its nickname, and that even Mayor Ras Baraka is on board with this view.

Understandably, the mayor and others who are rooting for Newark want to dispel the harmful stereotypes the city has suffered for decades, often the butt of jokes for late night comics and movie punch lines. But I’m convinced that, even by any other name, Newark would continue to be fodder for humorists until they’re given a stronger, more substantial reason to stop laughing.

In 2009, Conan O'Brien made on-air jokes at Newark's expense.

In 2009, Conan O’Brien made on-air jokes at Newark’s expense.

The nickname of a city will only have negative connotations when the inhabitants of that city internalize the criticisms leveled at it by haters, and when they continue on a social, economic and political trajectory that invites scorn from outsiders.

Look at Newark’s municipal sibling across the Hudson. The “Big Apple,” as does Brick City, has no inherent value as a nickname – at least not on its face. The Big Apple has luster and panache associated with it only because of the way New Yorkers carry it. Period.

In the 1970’s and 80’s, during a downturn in New York City that included its near bankruptcy, blackouts and the wild west heydays of Times Square, the Big Apple was a target for the doomsayers. Like Brick City, some were writing its epitaph. The editorial cartoons in the tabloids were depicting apples infested with worms, or sunbaked and wilted, or plain rotted to the core.

nyc headlines

Rotten apple. Left: Long before Conde Nast readers voted Newark “Unfriendliest City,” these “Welcome to Fear City” pamphlets were distributed to would-be New York City tourists by plainclothes police at area airports back in 1975. Right: That same year, the New York Daily News responds to president Gerald Ford saying he wouldn’t bail out a financially wrecked New York City.

Now that New York has successfully rebounded from 9/11, and internalized and reflected that success, its Big Apple image is one of vigor and vitality.

So let’s not be in a hurry to throw out the baby with the bath water. Negativity associated with Brick City may actually be, in large part, negativity internalized by the Newark community and reflected back to the world. “Newark, the perpetual underperforming underdog,” we tell ourselves. Perhaps that statement is true in part because we repeat it so much amongst ourselves. By contrast, I think that if the people and institutions of Newark are positive, upbeat, forward-thinking and industrious, that’s the way the world will eventually recognize this city.

I learned a generation ago, from the generation before me, that Brick City has a centuries-long, illustrious reputation as a bustling, vibrant locale. As a young college kid and native Baltimorean, my virgin brain struggled to absorb the plethora of anecdotes fired at me from the mouth of my employer and mentor, Tony Zangari, about his beloved “Nork.” And Mr. Z, as I called him, was specifically intrigued with Newark as a “Brick City.”

That’s because Mr. Z was a builder.


As a new resident of Newark at the time, I had a distinctly different outlook of the city than most natives, who are already used to the “look” of the city by the time they’re able to grasp their surroundings. What was visually typical, normal and mundane to their eyes was unique, magnificent and wondrous to the eyes of one who’d never witnessed the physical structure of Newark.

Indeed, Newark was a visually stunning city to behold. Bricks, bricks everywhere. The Prudential and Mutual Benefit Life buildings notwithstanding, most of Newark’s downtown office towers in the late 1970’s, when I first encountered Newark, were brown brick – and beautiful.

Several of these buildings still adorn the central business district today – and are still beautiful. There’s also Penn Station, the library, the museum, NJPAC, the brick-lain Prudential Plaza, the historic brick brownstones on James Street, the beautifully architected and brick-hewn Broad Street Station, and lovely brick churches too numerous to catalogue. Back then, even Mulberry Street was made of brick — it hadn’t been paved yet. And as I traversed the city, I recognized the unique character of Newark’s neighborhoods and communities that also lent well-earned aplomb to the appellation “Brick City.”

NJPAC, Newark Broad Street Station, and James Street

NJPAC, Newark Broad Street Station, and James Street

At that time, more than 300 years after the city was born, it was obvious that Newark’s settlers recognized a “brick” as a magical thing. A material on which to build Newark’s foundation, and upon that, all that Newark would be and has become.

Three-hundred fifty years later, the building continues, and a funny thing happened on the way to today’s gleaming glass and steel from the original brick and mortar: Newark built a structural “brick city” while also attempting to build a community, a culture and a commerce. It’s a project that has certainly fallen short over the years, but excitement about finally hitting that trifecta — and in ways that benefit all Newarkers — is tangible, palpable, and electric in some of the initiatives I’m witnessing here now.

A significant level of pride in the Brick City moniker itself is also still on display today. Witness the many ventures that have absorbed “Brick City” into their own names, including this very publication.

Many who disdain “Brick City” disdain Newark regardless of what name the city goes by. Haters would associate any alternative name for Newark with an overgrown ghetto. But if Brick City were held in high esteem by Newarkers, it would stand a much greater chance of being praised and applauded universally, because it would be a reflection of our self-esteem as a city.

Newark has been built up over 350 years. With its geography, infrastructure, institutions and people, it has significant raw assets to boast. Brick City is an organic, homegrown, nostalgic brand, so let’s change Newark’s mindset and fundamental prospects, not its nickname.

Regi Taylor is a Baltimore native, illustrator, sculptor, writer and public relations professional who currently resides in the suburbs of Maryland. He cut his teeth in Newark politics and business development as a young man under the mentorship of Carl Sharif, on the public relations staff of former schools superintendent Dr. Columbus Salley, and as an unofficial apprentice to Balozi Harvey, former United Nations trade liaison on behalf of the City of Newark. Image: a handmade “Newark” wire sculpture by the author. Contact him at

Disclosure: While working in Newark as a young man, Regi Taylor also co-created founder and editor Andaiye Taylor.

Hahne’s building wins a ‘Smart Growth Award’ for quality planning

The Hahne’s building is not quite ready for its tenants to move in, but the development is already winning awards.

Yesterday, New Jersey-based land use organization New Jersey Future announced the winners of its 15th annual Smart Growth Awards competition. The annual contest recognizes “the best in quality planning and development in the state,” and the Hahne’s redevelopment project was one of them.

“We had an extraordinary number of entries this year,” said New Jersey Future Executive Director Peter Kasabach, according to a statement. The Hahne’s building edged out its competition because it represents the successful “redevelopment of an iconic, landmark building into a vibrant mix of housing, educational and retail uses, connecting the university district and the downtown.”


The 115-year-old building and former high-end department had been defunct for nearly three decades before developers broke ground on the new project. Whole Foods will anchor the retail mix in the building, housing is under construction facing Halsey Street, and the space will also house Express Newark, a “community collaboratory” that will served as a hub for a broad array of Newark-based creators, with Rutgers-Newark as anchor institution.

Hahne’s joins Military Park (2015), the Riverfront Park redevelopment and public access plan (2014), and Teacher’s Village (2013) as previous Newark-based honorees.

Image: Google Street View

Recently announced book by Newark tech entrepreneur Anthony Frasier now available

The book is now available on

The book is now available on

Anthony Frasier, the Newark-bred tech entrepreneur who has started successful companies in the tech and media space, had his work widely reported on, and has helped incubate a burgeoning tech community here in town, released his self-published book, Don’t Dumb Down Your Greatness, in paperback and for Kindle yesterday.

“I’m going to give you the advice I wish someone would have given me when I first started out,” Frasier promises. “When I learned each of these skills I became a better entrepreneur, but most of all a better person.”

The efficiently-etched volume (it clocks in at 94 pages), whose cover is a callback to the movie poster for Spike Lee’s classic Do The Right Thing, is aimed at “young entrepreneurs of color [who] aren’t getting good advice,” according to the book’s description. He’s spent several years curating entrepreneurship advice for this exact community under the banner of The Phat Startup, the entrepreneurship education and media company he cofounded.

For instance, entrepreneurs are routinely advised to look first to their personal connections to raise money for their ventures – the “friends and family round” of funding – even when a rich uncle is not at hand for all, or to seek venture capital funding even when they often lack the connections or cultural capital to do this easily. Frasier understand these built-in limitations well, and promises to address them head-on in his book with both research and anecdotes from his own journey as an entrepreneur, and to offer affirmative advice that will help would-be entrepreneurs advance their startup goals.

Frasier recently told that he will be coming to Newark to interface with the public about his new book. Stay tuned for more on his plans as they develop.

Frasier previously co-authored How to Grind Like Diddy with James Lopez, who is a Phat Startup cofounder.

Don’t Dumb Down Your Greatness is available on


Hear directly from the Newark PD about crime reduction initiatives at first Community COMSTAT

participate cardTonight at 6 p.m., the Newark Police Department will hold its first Community COMSTAT meeting at Central High School (246 18th Avenue).

According to a statement from the department’s communications office, the meetings are “an effort to be more transparent and to allow the public to witness the proactive strategies and initiatives the department utilizes daily” in order to reduce crime, and to mitigate confusion about the department’s operations and activities. Subsequent Community COMSTAT meetings will be held at various locations throughout the city.

Among the details attendees will learn, according to the statement, are how department operations work; how the chain of command is organized; how crime and quality-of-life complaints effect policing strategies; the latest data about neighborhood-level crime and violence; and what specific crime reduction tactics police will employ in response.

“The Community COMSTAT is another step forward in our work to bring police and community together. We are creating respect and trust, and that trust, in turn will encourage people to provide valuable information to solve crimes. Community COMSTAT gives Newark citizens the opportunity to better understand how our police operate,” said Mayor Ras Baraka, according to the statement.

Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose added that the meetings are part of the 45 day plan announced on February 3rd of this year.

On March 29th, a Citizen Clergy Academy will commence. Participants will be get insight into the inner workings of the department, both functionally and operationally, during those sessions.