In Newark: Scrambled Notes No. 2

popMay Day in the Brick City. the People’s Organization for Progress had a march downtown (and this photo isn’t it; this is a, uh, web “file” photo 🙂 ). I began my journalistic career 29 years ago covering POP. Lawrence Hamm (far right, in the back with the gray hair), 60, has literally dedicated his life to struggle for social justice in Newark and Northern New Jersey. One of the stops on the march was City Hall, which, at least for me, had more resonance than usual less than two weeks before the election.

(It was great to see Hamm again, and for more than one reason: he was recovering from a bad car accident!)

At the end of the rally, I walked the one block back to City Hall. The Ras Baraka campaign song Mrs. Baraka played for me was blasting loud. A few minutes later, I saw three people carrying Jeffries signs get into an unmarked van and drive away.


Thanks to my friend, teacher’s union rep Annette Alston (“charter school” is a four-letter word to her :)) , I get to meet the candidate briefly at an Ironbound restaurant. He is exhausted.


I go to the POP meeting (my first time in 29 years [!], since my past identity as an “objective” journalist would have felt out-of-place), and the candidate’s there, to the surprise of all gathered.  He’s taking the last of a Q+A when we walk in the basement of the church that Martin Luther King spoke at the last week of his life. I hear him mention that it’s time to re-brand Newark as an international city–a name worthy of a major seaport and international airport.  The nickname “Brick City” belongs to the old, industrial era, he said.

At the meeting, the GOTV effort for the candidate was discussed–who can drive folks to the polls, etc. A good May Day.


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