Peoples candidate sworn in as deputy mayor

NEWARK, N.J. – Ras Baraka, former people’s candidate for Councilman at Large here, was sworn in Sept. 27 as one of the city’s four Deputy Mayors. Jeannette Ramos, Ronald R. Rice and Evelyn Williams were the other three Deputies appointed by Mayor Sharpe James.

Mayor James’ introduction during the ceremony was full of praises for Baraka’s work in the community and his dedication to the cause of the youth and education. “We must recognize the youth in our city who have educated themselves and now want to be politically active,” James said to a reporter. “Ras becomes the role model for that group.”

Baraka, who lost his bid for City Council in the last municipal elections by a mere 116 votes, announced in his acceptance speech at the City Hall that he would work as the Deputy Mayor of Newark for an annual salary of only $1. He reaffirmed his commitment to the youth of the city and expressed his hope that his new position as a Deputy Mayor would allow him to advance the cause of youth and education more effectively. Baraka will continue to serve in his present position as vice principal at Weequahic High School, in addition to serving as the City’s Deputy Mayor.

It is widely believed by the community that one of the reasons for Mayor James’ appointment of Baraka as Deputy Mayor has been his strong grassroots support in the community and the pressures that had been put on James from below to redress the election irregularities that had cost Baraka the City Council seat.

Baraka’s appointment as Deputy Mayor is a significant victory for the youth and the working people of Newark, who have witnessed his dedication, commitment and hard work in defense of their community and their rights for so many years.

The author can be reached at pww@pww.org