This week, Mayor Ras Baraka is calling on the men of his city of Newark to hold court with him on specific streets; he’s calling it Occupy the Block.
The first Occupy the Block just started at 4:30pm at Clinton Ave and Chadwick today. Saturday at the same time, it will be Chancellor and Schley. Baraka plans to do this three days a week, staying for several hours. He’s thinking folding chairs and tables, shutting down any nearby illegal trade, talking frankly with whoever’s there about the city, about youth, about violence. Maybe play some chess. (Read his whole message here).
Have to say, I was vexed when I heard he was looking only to men. I know women in Newark who keep sharp eyes out on their street every day, grandmothers you wouldn’t want to mess with, and women teachers whose lifework is the lives of kids. But then I remembered something from a long time ago, from my block in the upper west side in NYC.