NEWARK - A newly appointed community group is hoping to improve Newark by finding gainful employment for some of the city’s residents.
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka recently announced the creation of the Newark Community Street Team, a group who will team up with people in certain Newark neighborhoods to help them find work. The goal is to improve the city by improving people’s lives.
Shadee Dukes grew up near Chancellor Avenue, one of Newark’s most impoverished neighborhoods in the South Ward. Dukes say that when he learned about the program, he rushed to sign up to help.
“I see a damaged community, truthfully. I see a damaged community, but still a hopeful community that is at a loss for guidance and leadership,” he says.
Another member of the group is job placement expert Nate Burkard.
"There's no better feeling than to be able to buy your kid diapers and not have to beg, borrow and steal for that money,” he says.
The group of 20 community members is led by Aqeela Sherrils, who helped negotiate a gang truce between the Bloods and the Crips in Los Angeles 25 years ago.
"In two years, I see us having an impact on reducing violence and crime in the neighborhood, especially around schools and hot spots,” Sherrils says.
The group will begin its work in August. The program is expected to be in place for a minimum of two years. It will be paid for with a mix of private corporate money and a grant from the Department of Justice.