America has unfinished business…: Mayor Booker retorts

By Kofi Ayim and Kwabena Opong, Newark, NJ

Newark’s Mayor Cory Booker has warned, as a matter of urgency, that permanent recession of the United States is inevitable, if systemic problems of and in the educational systems are not confronted and resolved. He pointed out that the City of Newark spends approximately $20,000 to educate a child, yet students enter college virtually unqualified to take college-level courses. Mayor Cory Booker made this assertion at the 3rd Annual African American Media Breakfast April 9, at the Newark Club where he discussed the issues of the stark realities of the state of Black America.

He remarked that even though the City of Newark has made positive strides in recent years, its impact is not reverberated across the greater community, because the (negative) effect of one American has a repercussion on all. African Americans continue to be the least impacted by the benefits of the civil rights struggles led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

He praised the Newark Charter School system as the primus inter pares in the nation. Mayor Booker opined that corroborative learning environments and teachers’ innovative programs are some of the structures needed to rebuild broken and underperforming schools.

He decried the culture of silence on African America’s poverty as a canker no one wants to talk about, and described the phenomenon  as “unfinished business”. He said America is “not yet there” on the challenges it faces and lamented on the sorrowful state of “a trail of tears” for underperforming African Americans as compared to their white counterparts. Mayor Cory Booker conceded that Newark, like several other urban areas across America is in crisis with respect to child poverty and pre-natal care, among others. He said even though blacks are about 13 to 15 percent of New Jersey’s population, they constitute about 60 percent of prison population. Children of incarcerated adults and the less educated are more likely to serve time in jail.

Mayor Booker referred to the objectives and the achievements of the civil rights struggle led by the Late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 30 years ago as impacting not only African Americans but the entire American society. Contrary to expectations, African Americans were the least impacted. The mayor inferred that the impact of African Americans on the economy of the country would be negligible if the current trend of under-performance in education is not addressed.

In an answer to a question, Cory Booker wondered aloud the fierce opposition by the very few people to strict gun laws when it is a proven fact that laxed laws make is easier for guns to end up in wrong hands. He reminded the naysayers to stricter gun laws that “the power of the people is always greater than the people with power.”


Posted by on Apr 12 2013. Filed under top stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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