Over the past few months, the Newark Water Coalition has tirelessly been advocating for residents of Newark and taking action to spread awareness of the Lead Water Crisis. What started as a small group of activists working to simply spread information about this crisis to residents has since ballooned into a larger movement with education, social media, and canvassing campaigns as well as a place for Newark residents to come for access to free, clean drinking water with no questions asked. The Water Coalition has always been about educating our neighbors and making sure that they are not inadvertently harming themselves or their families. Our Coalition has been immensely successful in advocating for clean water for Newark. We have hosted demonstrations at Mayor Baraka’s State of the City address and the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs).
NEWARK, NJ - As throngs of attendees in cocktail dresses and casual suits lined up around the Prudential Center Monday eagerly awaiting entrance to MTV’s Video Music Awards, Anthony Diaz blew into a megaphone. “Where y’all from?” Diaz shouted. “We need clean water because we live here.” Diaz, of the Newark Water Coalition, organized a protest of the celebrity-studded award show, leading a march of about 100 people from Newark’s Penn Station to outside “The Rock” demanding the city do more for residents impacted by the city's ongoing lead water crisis.
By Staff of NJ Against US War on Syria and in the Middle East - Largely with the local support of the Peoples Organization for Progress, anti-war activists including Newark residents and those from surrounding communities have converged on the Martin Luther King Jr. monument for protests against the various escalations and threats of war by the US administration 3 times since early April. The events have also received strong support from NJ Peace Action and the Green Party of New Jersey. We are now considering a proposal to make this type of activity a monthly event, picking a particular Friday of each month. The proposal is not just to show up for an hour plus protest and then go home but to incorporate into the effort a concerted organizing drive with the goal of connecting to the local pedestrian and vehicle traffic and to integrate the war issues we are raising with the related devastation of the war related economic issues and how the war economy directly and adversely impacts the Newark community. The monthly event should include organizing during the “in between” times and in the hours before each gathering as well as during the gathering to reach out and connect with pedestrians, shop owners, labor organizations, schools, religious institutions, housing and other outlets in the surrounding blocks.
By Joseph Ax for Reuters - Police in Newark, New Jersey, will institute sweeping reforms to resolve allegations of widespread civil-rights violations under the supervision of a federal monitor, U.S. and city officials announced on Wednesday. The changes will settle allegations by the U.S. Justice Department that the police department in New Jersey's largest city engaged in a pattern of unconstitutional practices that targeted black residents for unwarranted street stops, used excessive force and stole residents' property.
By Nika Knight for Common Dreams - Public schools in Newark, New Jersey, were forced to shut off water fountains on Wednesday after test results showed high levels of lead in the water supply. "Officials say they do not know how long students at nearly half of the Newark's schools may have been drinking water with elevated levels of lead," reported Dan Ivers atNJ.com. The water supply at a total of 30 Newark schools tested higher for lead than the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s "action level," 15 parts per billion, at which point the agency requires "additional testing, monitoring, and remediation," accordingto ABC.
Newark’s new mayor, Ras Baraka, introduced the resolution and the Newark Municipal Council, which passed it unanimously, according to a press release issued today by New Jersey Communities United (unitednj.org), which describes itself as a progressive grassroots community organization committed to building power for low and moderate income people, predominantly in Newark. According to the release… “Newark Council Unanimously Approves Resolution Supporting Local Principal Reduction Program for Families Facing Foreclosure Mayor-Elect Ras Baraka Leading Fight Against Foreclosure Crisis in Newark” The program would allow homeowners trapped in certain type of mortgage, known as a Private Label Security or PLS Loans, to voluntarily participate in a program where the City purchases these mortgages from investors and repackages them at terms homeowners can afford. For most of the estimated 1,200 homeowners with these types of loans in Newark, the policy would save them from losing their homes to foreclosure.
On Tuesday, May 20, 2014, the Newark Students Union (NSU) called for a rally on 2 Cedar Street, at the Board of Education building. As their supporters rallied outside, nine high school students from the NSU entered the building where the Board of Education was holding a meeting and staged a sit-in. As they slipped Cami Anderson, the superintendent, a list of their demands and sat down on the floor of the meeting, the nine students declared they weren’t leaving until their demands were met. The four demands read as follows: (1) Cami Anderson’s immediate resignation (2) Local control over the education system (3) Public schools to be fairly and fully funded and (4) All schools remain open. Back in December, the NPS administration issued the “One Newark” plan: a complete restructuring of Newark’s public schools to take place in time for the 2014-2015 school year. Under the slogan, “100 excellent schools,” they describe the plan as a “community-wide agenda to ensure all students are in excellent schools and thriving communities.” In reality, the One Newark plan is a top-down approach orchestrated at the state level, which exercises complete control over public schools. Under the plan, some public schools will be closed, others will be turned into charters, and yet other schools will face a complete staff overhaul with potential layoffs.