Tag Archive: police

Beginning tonight – Ras Baraka calling Newark men to Occupy the Block

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.  

Does New Jersey have the Political Will to Help Camden?

Promoted by Rosi. This is cross-posted from the Local Knowledge Blog:

A Camden High School student spoke at my class last semester. He told one particularly poignant story, of how he’d been evicted from his home and had spent a few months living out of a car. Each morning, at 5:45am, his mother would wake him so that he could be the first person to go into the local McDonalds. There, he would brush his teeth and get ready for school.

Among all the stories I’ve heard in Camden, I think this one may be the most important. It is about stability, and how hard it is for young people who lack it to succeed. This student talked about how he never had that stability, how he was constantly moving, until he joined the Junior ROTC program. The stability and structure of going to that program each day after school was what turned his life around.

This young man isn’t alone in his need for stability. Camden City as a whole desperately needs sustained commitment from the state of New Jersey. Because Camden runs a significant annual deficit, it is constantly in need of state support. The politics of giving that support can make or break the city.