Alarm bells are going off in Newark over gentrification, and how the forces of change and property development are changing the face of New Jersey’s largest city.
The latest phase of this ongoing citywide wake-up call to ensure the outer neighborhoods are not left out of downtown development plans is a National Emergency Summit on Gentrification, organized by activist and educator Dr. Ron Daniels and Mayor Ras Baraka’s administration.
“We can get massive resources in our community, we are not going to be able to solve all the problems," said Dr. Daniels.
Just outside, a group of Newark residents, students, and community organizers applauded he arrival of Dr. Daniels and the discussion panel, but were less enthusiastic and supportive of the Baraka Administration’s efforts to address rising rents and a cost of living that, for tens of thousands of poor and working class Newark residents, puts a sustainable way of life out of reach.
When asked to grade the mayor’s efforts in fighting the forces of gentrification here in Newark, lifelong Newarker Victor Monterrosa Hughes respond, “C+. He's done enough for there to be some type of public face to changes, or to improvements, but there is no enforcement. There is no execution. You don't get an A for effort."
PIX11 tried before and during the town hall to speak directly with Mayor Baraka, to get his thoughts on the event and how gentrification is affecting his city.
When this is all done, residents tell us that they're hoping the administration will be more transparent about its plan, and that it will benefit all residents of the city of Newark.