Newark, New Jersey, like so many of the nation’s old industrial cities, has weathered its share of tough times and challenging moments. The city, New Jersey’s largest, has been pegged to be on the cusp of a “renaissance” since the days of its first African-American mayor Ken Gibson to the just concluded tenure of its celebrity mayor Cory Booker. Progress has been measured and often times evaded “Brick City” despite promising signs of a civic turnaround. On Saturday policy makers and emerging leaders will take a closer look at the state of the city, discuss its future and contemplate possible policy interventions to help Newark reach its full potential.
Leadership Newark, a leadership development program dedicated to strengthening the city’s civic infrastructure, is sponsoring is first ever Public Policy Summit. The event with the theme “Rebuilding the Dream that is Newark” is being held Saturday at the Paul Robeson Center on the Newark campus of Rutgers University, with a 9:15 am kick-off keynote address by NorthStarNews.com Executive Editor Walter Fields. The day features former Green Jobs adviser to President Obama and CNN contributor, Van Jones, the director of the Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Studies, Dr. Roland Anglin and Dale Robinson Anglin, senior program officer for the Victoria Foundation.
With the departure of incumbent mayor Cory Booker to the United States Senate, the city of Newark is in transition. As new political leadership takes aim at City Hall and a chance to be the city’s stewards, questions abound over the direction of a city still reeling from the historic recession and decades of indifference from county and state governments. Now almost 50 years removed from the episode of civic outrage that sparked unrest and resulted in 21 deaths, the city is just now showing signs of erasing the blemishes from that episode. Still, there are scars that remain; a public school system that lags in student performance, high rates of child and adult poverty, chronic joblessness and a high incidence of violent crime that is often driven by gang and drug trafficking activity. With so much still at stake the existence of Leadership Newark provides a fertile laboratory for contemplation and discussion concerning the city’s future.
The Policy Summit will include a number of workshops focused on specific policy areas and impaneled with an impressive roster of policy experts. The workshops include Mass Incarceration: The Local Impact, Crime & Violence: A Public Health Challenge, Crime & the Environment, Fact or Fiction: The Truth About School Reform, School Safety, Families and Community: Partners in Education, Healthy and Green Economic Opportunities for Urban America, Workforce Development in the 21st Century, and Dollars and Sense: The Money Matters in Your Community. Each of the workshops is moderated by a policy expert.
Sponsors of the summit include Verizon, Wells Fargo, Rutgers University, the Victoria Foundation and utility giant PSE&G. All sessions will be held at Rutgers University’s Robeson Center at 350 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Newark.
On-site registration for the Policy Summit is $75 and space is limited. To register go to this link.