Ras Baraka

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Ras Baraka


Ras Baraka is the Mayor of Newark New Jersey. He is the son of Amiri Baraka and Amina Baraka.

Malcolm X conference

A conference, Malcolm X: Radical Tradition and a Legacy of Struggle was held in New York City, November 14 1990.

Campus Racism and the Rebirth of Militant Black Student Activism

Chairperson:

Panel:

  • Ras Baraka, Howard University Student Government Association

Baraka leads trade delegation to Cuba

Ras Baraka announced that he "would lead a delegation of elected officials, medical personnel, educators, activists and social scientists to Cuba. The purpose of the trip is to establish trade relations between Cuba and Newark. The city, which has the largest seaport on the East Coast, is the largest seaport in the U.S However, the port is struggling for jobs, goods and services."

Baraka made the announcement after the National Conference for the Full Normalization of U.S.-Cuban Relations held in Fordham University School of Law. It was initiated and hosted by the New York-New Jersey Cuba Si! Coalition to mobilize to end all U.S. economic, financial and travel sanctions against Cuba; to get the U.S. out of illegally occupied territory in Guantanamo; and stop all regime-change programs against Cuba."

As reported at Workers World:

"All U.S. systems have not worked for Black and Brown people, Baraka added. Hospital emergency rooms are being utilized because of the high cost of and limited access to health care. And hospitals are closing, replaced by unaffordable housing in Black and Brown communities. Gentrification is not just about buildings, but about displacement and the lives of people in existing communities. U.S. cities are overrun with homelessness and racialized poverty, said Baraka."[2]

Communist gathering/"We're Not Going Back"

Jarvis Tyner introduces Ras Baraka
Ras Baraka

March 2015, a crowd of New Yorkers lined up at the security desk in order to make their way up to the third floor to Melba's Restaurant and the annual "We're Not Going Back" celebration of African American culture and struggle.

2014's guest speaker was Angela Davis, and the occasion was held downtown at the Henry Winston Unity Hall. This year's featured speaker was the newly elected mayor of Newark, the Honorable Ras Baraka.

The meeting's theme was "Support City Officials Who Fight for Equality, a Living Wage and Against Racism."

Estevan Bassett-Nembhard, New York organizer of the Communist Party USA, opened the program, greeting the over 200 participants and emphasizing the need for unity in the vital struggle to end racism. "We stand on the shoulders of those who defeated slavery and Jim Crow. Our history tells us that united we stand and divided we fall." He continued, "We're not going back! Our pledge is to stick together."

Naquasia LeGrand chaired the event, winning a round of applause when she announced that she was a fast food worker and an organizer of that movement.

One of the highlights of the evening was the speech by retired construction worker Ricky Eisenberg who told his own story of how he was involved in the struggle against racism and corruption in a New York building trades local.

He described how the anti-racist unity built in that struggle led to the victory of an interracial slate of younger workers despite being threatened with guns at the union hall's front door by the opposition.

Making the point that the fight against racism benefited all workers, he added, "White workers are going nowhere fast unless they are part of a united fightback."

Mayor Baraka electrified the crowd with a stirring speech that highlighted both the transformative impact of the fight against racism and where the struggle for greater democracy is heading.

"We [African Americans] are American history," he argued. "There is no history in America without us."

Baraka spoke eloquently about the strategic importance of the fight for democracy and challenged those who think democratic reform is a diversion from the struggle. "We cannot fight against democratic reform; we have to constantly push it past its limits," he explained.

The mayor told the story of how his father, writer, poet and activist Amiri Baraka, was beaten by the police in 1967 during the uprising in Newark. His mother Amina Baraka had to run all over Newark looking for his dad, who lay bloody and handcuffed to a wheelchair in a local hospital.

"I have to be an optimist," he declared, "because, on July 1, 2014, just 6 months after my father died, his son was inaugurated as the 40th mayor of New Jersey's largest city. "So, I have to be an optimist."

"No lie will live forever," he declared. "We are human beings. When we stand on truth, freedom, justice and equality, we can't lose."

He ended, "I was elected mayor of Newark because the people of Newark believed in Newark and they believed in Newark because they believed in themselves."

After hearing the mayor's speech, Joe Sims, CPUSA social media and party coordinator said, "That was one of the best speeches I have ever heard on political tactics and strategy."

A large and politically diverse host committee was formed to welcome Mayor Baraka, including representatives from labor, fast-food workers, police reform, immigrant rights, LGBTQ, religious and peace and justice movements. Among them were Alisha Garner, the sister of Eric Garner murdered by police on Staten Island, and elected officials including State Senator Bill Perkins, State Assemblyman Keith Wright, along with a representative of City Council member Ydanis Rodriguez. Baraka received proclamations from Perkins, Wright and Rodriguez. He also received a letter of welcome from Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer stopped by briefly to greet the gathering crowd.

As the evening ended one participant said, "This was a great event that showed that left and center forces in our city can work together to build principled unity and a stronger movement to help defeat racism and poverty."[3]

Working Families Party

The Working Families Party worked to elect Ras Baraka, an opponent of education reform, to succeed Cory Booker as mayor of Newark over a better-funded candidate. [4]

Communist Party support

New York Communist Party USA leader Estevan Nembhard was an active campaigner for Ras Baraka.

"Progressive Agenda"

Signers of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's May 12, 2015 launch of the The Progressive Agenda to Combat Income Inequality included Ras Baraka - Mayor of Newark New Jersey .[5]

United front for ACA

A number of local politicians and lawmakers, including New Jersey Senators Cory Booker and Robert Menendez, U.S. Representatives Frank Pallone, Donald Payne, Jr., Bill Pascrell, Albio Sires, Josh Gottheimer, and Bonnie Watson Coleman, and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, were present at a January 15th 2017, at 11:30 a.m. at the Robert Treat Hotel (50 Park Place) downtown Newark, rally to press for protection of the Affordable Care Act.

The law, often referred to as “Obamacare,” is currently under threat. The U.S. Senate voted at around 1:30 a.m this morning to approve a procedure that will let them potentially repeal parts of the ACA through a reconciliation bill, which enables the Congress to make changes to spending and tax legislation and, crucially, is filibuster proof. Reconciliation was used to pass the ACA in 2010.

Earlier today, Payne, Jr. delivered a speech on the floor of the U.S. Congress to highlight how Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act will affect Americans who depend on the law for their healthcare. He shared a story about how the ACA had helped a constituent who faced dire health problems, in order to humanize what is at stake if the legislation is repealed.[6]

References