information card

State of the City 2024


Mayor discusses achievements of the past decade and shares vision for the future; Also commends municipal employees who have gone above and beyond the call of duty

Newark, NJ – March 12, 2024 – Mayor Ras J. Baraka presented his 10th annual State of the City Address tonight, in a joyful, impassioned, and triumphant speech to the residents of Newark assembled at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, located at 1 Center Street.

In his address, Mayor Baraka reflected on his administration’s achievements of the past decade starting from his “David moment.” Describing himself as “just a kid from Clinton Avenue and 10thStreet…Amiri and Amina’s son, an activist, a poet, a teacher with nothing in his hands but a rock and a sling shot,” he proclaimed, “It’s only when we face Goliath that our circumstances begin to change. We can’t miss our David moment out of fear and trepidation.”

The mayor went on to delineate a remarkable sequence of improvements and upgrades to Newark living, focusing on the administration’s accomplishments over the past 10 years. Stopping along the way, he commended municipal employees who have gone above and beyond the call of duty and residents who have benefited from city initiatives, he shared a compelling vision for the future.

The event provided an opportunity for residents, business leaders, non-profit organizations, and community stakeholders to learn firsthand about the progress the City of Newark has made and Mayor Baraka’s administration’s upcoming initiatives for this year and the future.

A PDF copy of the speech in English is attached. Check the City of Newark’s YouTube page for Spanish and Portuguese translations, which will be made available in the coming days.

The speech highlighted accomplishments in the following areas:


·         Newark crime reductions 2023:

o   Burglaries down 16 percent

o   Auto theft down 24 percent

o   Non-fatal shootings down 36 percent

·         61 new police officers hired this year

·         $3 million allocated to community partners to provide therapeutic and crisis intervention services including mental health, emotional support, and substance abuse counseling

·         More than tripled the number of Public Safety community engagement events

·         Secured more than $5.4 million in federal grants for new Fire Division staff and equipment

·         Hired nine new firefighters

·         Plans to hire an additional 70 to 100 new Firefighters in 2024

Attesting to Newark’s lowest crime statistics in 60 years, Mayor Baraka lauded policing success “without violating people’s constitutional rights…we have redirected money to create the Office of Violence Prevention and Trauma Recovery, with social workers in every precinct…this year we made considerable investments in our community-based violence intervention partners which resulted in a 50 percent increase in mediations of conflicts, along with therapeutic services, and crisis intervention.

“We tripled the number of community engagement events across the city and increased our high risk intervention capacity by investing in nine separate partners and we are doing the same around domestic violence. While some still try to find ways to undermine or belittle this work, the federal government has opened their Office of Violence Prevention and so has the state following our achievements. We are invited around the country to help to other cities create what we are doing here. We are leading the way in Newark and we have so much to be proud of,” he added.

Mayor Baraka invited public safety leadership to stand for acknowledgement, mentioned expansion and improvement measures to the Fire Division and called for a moment of silence in memory of the two firefighters who lost their lives last July, Captain Augusto Acabou and Captain Wayne Brooks, Jr.


·         Reduced residents without addresses by 57.6 percent

·         Moved 21 percent of Hope Village shelter residents to permanent housing

·         Acquisition of $2.9 million grant to provide crisis services to individuals experiencing mental health emergencies

After touting a 57.6 percent reduction in the city’s unsheltered population, the mayor announced the development of “the first of its kind texting service to enable members of the public to alert our street outreach team of people in need of shelter or help.” He invited the City’s Director of Homeless Services Luis Ulerio to stand for recognition for his astounding leadership.


·         More than 2,000 affordable scooters and bicycles throughout city provided transportation to nearly 75,000 riders for more than 1 million rides


·         Invest Newark:

o   Offered nine training sessions in 2023 for 500 current and future entrepreneurs

o   Executive Business Accelerator and Small Business Stronger classes had 25 graduates. These graduates employ more than 100 full-time employees, over 70 part-time employees, and more than 50 contractors.

·         Summer Youth Employment Program:

o   More than 100 paid interns joined Mayor’s Internship Program to learn about city’s inner workings, shaping the next generation of Newark leaders.

o   Program secured more than $2.7 million in private and state funds.

·         Mayor’s Raise Your Voice Academy brought together 80 youth through a 15-week urban education and social justice curriculum to equip youth with leadership and management tools to create new, critical, thought leaders in Newark.

Commending a graduate from the national Career Institute’s electrical assistant and HVAC program who participated in the Safe Summer Academy for three years, the mayor praised him for having “completed the program with us and retained employment with the city as an electrical assistant” despite previously “facing challenges – including arrest and a gunshot incident. “With immense pride I want to acknowledge Dashawn Brown for his determination to finish his education and maintain full time employment,” Mayor Baraka said.


·         Updated and adopted the recommended Newark Zoning & Land Use Regulation to allow for more density and to revitalize the city’s neglected corridors.

·         Strengthened the Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance that requires developers of 15 units or more to set aside 20 percent of their units to be affordable for low- and moderate-income families.

·         Equitable Investment in Newark Communities (EINC) initiative expands affordable homeownership by developing or rehabilitating single and multi-family homes that residents can own or rent at affordable prices. In 2023, 16 sites were identified.

·         More than 12,000 housing units built downtown or submitted applications for construction.

·         Reallocated $921,000 to help 69 families avoid eviction this year.

·         Expanded Live Newark Program, to provide up to $20,000 for down payment or closing costs and $40,000 for repairs to homeowners.

·         Guaranteed Income Pilot infused $5.1 million into local economy and directly impacted 430 Newark families.

·         Newark Land Back put 52 properties back into productive use to assist city residents with path to homeownership.

“When the average cost of a home is $350,000 dollars in our city and the average income is around $35,000 dollars…we do real work to get in the way of real problems…working tirelessly on equity and doing our part in trying to help address the enormous wealth gap in this state by creating financial empowerment. Trying to build rafts so our people won’t drown from the increased wealth becoming more concentrated in a few people’s hands making it difficult to live in this state,” the mayor said.


Moving on to the arts, the mayor said, “I know that there are forces that bring misery to the world but I want to be the opposite force…and Amiri Baraka wrote the one that sticks with me forever—‘that the noblest function of art is to oppose what is ugly.’”

·         Created Arts and Education District. It has:

o   Provided residents and visitors with a central location for cultural programming and arts education.

o   First community meeting at Arts High School had 100 attendees.

o   Events included: Afro Beats Festival, Lincoln Park Music Festival, and Newark Arts Festival.

·         Creative Catalyst Fund awarded 402 grants totaling more than $2.2 million to individual artists and cultural organizations citywide.

·         City facilitated the commissioning of more than a dozen murals and installed the Harriet Tubman Monument in Harriet Tubman Square.

·         City invested in restoring Newark Symphony Hall’s Terrace Ballroom.

·         More than half a million activity touches through a wide range of recreation programs including the Summer Enrichment Program, senior chair aerobics, and boxing tournaments.

·         Division of Senior Services partnered with Alvin Ailey Dance Theater to provide seniors with dance classes and flexibility training.

·         The Latina Empowerment Brunch, Newark Latin Festival and the Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration all achieved record-breaking attendance, honored prominent residents for professional and personal achievements and awarded thousands of scholarship dollars to city students from every ward.


·         Former President Barack Obama designated Newark as one of four cities in the entire country to be selected as a My Brother’s Keeper Model Community, with Newark honored for keeping young men and boys safe from violence.

·         City commissioned an advisory board and comprehensive report entitled “An Assessment of School Enrollment Systems in Newark, NJ: Exploring Potential Paths Forward” to improve the enrollment process.

·         Newark Citywide Prenatal to Third Grade 10-point Plan was rolled out to improve literacy rates.

·         Reading Under the Stars annual summer program created multi-sensory experience for students and encouraged reading and literacy.

·         Opened Mary Eliza Mahoney Health Center at Speedway, in the Speedway Elementary School in the West Ward.

·         Increased children’s lead screening by 43 percent; achieved a 52 percent decrease in lead-related cases for children; saw a 36 percent increase in families receiving food assistance and a 193 percent increase in children receiving immunization services.

The mayor concluded his health and wellness summary with praise for his health director, Ketlen Alsbrook who is “one of the best Health Directors we have seen in a long time. Dedicated to this city and its families.”


·         Invest Newark and the Office of Information Technology has expanded internet access that, to date has resulted in more than 700 public housing units gaining access to Newark Fiber.

·         Newark Builds Newark provides residents with training for in-demand 21st century careers in virtual reality, sustainable offshore wind energy construction, drone piloting, and fiber optics development.

·         In partnership with Rutgers-Newark, public Wi-Fi expanded to include Harriet Tubman Square and Halsey Street.

The mayor concluded his speech with inspirational encouragement for not only Newarkers, but the world:

Our imagination has to be bigger than our prejudices and our courage greater than our desire for comfort…We survived with our wit and determination, our ingenuity and our grit…

We work because we must. Every day we wake up to turbulence, flying a plane through a storm, trying not to just pick up the garbage, but keep our children alive. We don’t just have to deal with snow, and potholes, but making sure our mothers don’t die in the hospital giving birth and that families have access to food. This is what we do out of necessity – not for title or ambition because if your ambition only includes you, it’s short sighted anyway. Our ambition must be big enough to include us all…

What we do in Newark is a labor of love. We are the forgotten stone that has now become the corner stone. The stone the builders rejected is now that stone you need to stand on, the stone you depend on…

I never doubted the people here even in the most difficult moments. I believe in the best of us and I believe that whatever we do together can never be impossible.

The State of the City Booklet can be accessed here.

For photos of the event, here.

For video shown during the address, here and here.

To see the speech on the City of Newark’s Facebook page, here.


For more information on the City of Newark, please visit our website at

Follow us on Twitter:

Estimated Time to Complete:
Supplements Required:
Costs Associated: