May 4, 2020


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Mayor Ras J. Baraka today announced the collaboration of city leaders to create policies and strategies on how to continue to move Newark forward when the COVID-19 threat lessens.

Called the Newark Reopening and Recovery Strikeforce, the task force will build off the unprecedented cooperation between government, the private sector and organizations during the COVID-19 crisis and continue to work collectively to solve problems.

Mayor Baraka, a strong advocate of guaranteed income policies, is especially interested in ways to help people escape economic insecurity, and, as an educator, for ways to implement the newfound educational technology and resources for our children to use when they return to school and are no longer sheltered in place.

“The way we live, the way we do business, the way we teach and how we interact have changed because of this crisis,” the Mayor said.  “New industries will emerge and there will be opportunities to innovate that we must embark on. This is an opportune time to be innovative and accomplish things that we have never done before, and we can do this and much more through comprehensive planning and pragmatic solutions.”

The co-chairs of the Newark Reopening and Recovery Strikeforce are City of Newark Chief of Staff Amiri Baraka, Jr. and Newark Alliance CEO Aisha Glover.

Committees within the strikeforce focus on public health, economic recovery, data collection and analysis, education, arts, community outreach and engagement, and communications (list of chairpersons below):

• Public Health Committee, co-led by Dr. Perry N. Halkitis, Dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health and Michellene Davis, Executive Vice President and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer of RWJBarnabas Health

• Economic Recovery Committee, led by Lata Reddy, Senior Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion & Impact at Prudential

• Data Collection and Analysis Committee, led by Phil Scott, Director of Engineering for the City of Newark

• Education Committee, led by Ron Chaluisán Batlle, Director of the Newark Trust for Education  

• Arts, Recreation and Culture Committee, led by Linda Harrison, Director and CEO of Newark Museum

• Community Outreach and Engagement Committee, led by the Honorable Mildred C. Crump, President of the City of Newark Municipal Council

• Communications Committee, led by Kay Sarlin Wright, Director of Corporate Affairs and Communications for Audible

Due to the city’s composition and needs, Mayor Baraka and the Newark Reopening and Recovery Strikeforce are taking direct action to adapt to the necessary challenges to prepare for life after COVID-19, including what recovery will mean to the community.


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