On Thursday, Aug. 18, the Brick City Peace Collective (BCPC) and the Office of Violence Prevention and Trauma Recovery (OVPTR) continued its campaign to rally and unite the city against the recent spate of violence.
The action took place on Chadwick Avenue and West Runyon Street. The march and rally will be the last of the Summer leading up to a CityWide Action this Saturday, Aug. 20 at 2 p.m. Called a ‘State Of Emergency Call To Action A Citywide Community Walk Against Violence’ will spotlight participants marching from each of Newark’s five wards converging at West Side High School for a special event.
Launched early in July, these rallying efforts are reminiscent of the historic efforts of the Newark AntiViolence Coalition’s epic 155 week protest against violence that began back in 2009.
These efforts are different, however, in that they now reflect the fully emergent community based ecosystem that is now in place to reduce violence that has produced a pronounced drop in the violence that plagued the city back in 2009 when the NAVC began its historic campaign.
In these efforts, not only are organizers condemning the violence with affected community members in key hotspots. They are being joined by the entities created to address the violence, such as the Newark Community Street Team and The Newark Street Academy, who will also canvass the area with trauma relief resources and intervention resources to demonstrate to the community how the new ecosystem has been working.
Former key players of the NAVC are now leading these efforts. Sharif Amenhotep, the popular ‘Soul of the Newark AntiViolence Coalition,’ is now leading the rallying efforts in the streets. Lakeesha Eure, former longtime chair of the NAVC, is now responsible for the efforts of OVPTR.
Even though criminal justice experts from a number of quarters have acknowledged the groundbreaking success of the Newark model, the violence, when it occurs, is still a collectively felt trauma for those neighborhoods affected by continuing incidents. The recent challenges of the Covid Pandemic and the challenges of the season are still a difficult challenge. The united strategy makes a difference in community coping and continuing the trend towards violence reduction.
“It’s important to address the communities affected directly and to let them know that we are fully mobilized to try to check this,” said Lakeesha Eure, Director of the newly found Office of Violence Prevention and Trauma Recovery.
Fall comes in on the heels of these efforts with the annual 24 Hours of Peace Concert that will launch on Saturday, Sept. 2 that will feature local talent, a who’s who in Hip Hop and a special appearance by Newark legend Queen Latifah as the guest host! This year’s concert will start at 6pm on September 2nd and will be held right in the center of the City on Springfield Avenue between Blum and Bergen Streets by CityPlex Theatre.
At the beginning of the month, Mayor Baraka announced a call to action of Newark business owners to close on Saturday, August 20, at 2 p.m. and join in the march set for that date and time.
The walk, themed “Newark Forward Minus Violence Equals Our Future,” will commence at Chancellor Avenue and Aldine Street in the South Ward, and wind its way over a 13-mile course through all five of the city’s wards, finishing up at West Side High School in the West Ward. Participants can walk, run, jog, ride bicycles, roller-skate, or use scooters to complete the march.
“Acts of gun violence are the biggest threats to our collective future and are an unrelenting public health crisis in our country,” Mayor Baraka said. “What we have seen in Newark and cities across the country is tragic, horrifying, and intolerable. We need business owners, families, and all of our community organizations to join us on this walk as part of our comprehensive strategy to end violence in our neighborhoods. This is a call to action to bring peace to our city and move Newark forward into our promised future.”
Residents can join the walk at the following locations:
· South Ward: Chancellor Avenue and Aldine Street
· East Ward: Pennington Court
· Central Ward: New Community (14th Avenue and Bruce Street)
· North Ward: Waterfront Recreation Center on Grafton Avenue
· West Ward: Ivy Hill Park
· Special Event: West Side High School (Ending Location)
Additionally, during the march, the city will provide information and critical resources around housing, education, employment and mental health.