Issue Call for Collaboration To Strengthen Public Education and Healthcare
NEWARK…As a young man, Ras J. Baraka decided to become a teacher and work with Newark’s youth to help them find their way to a better future, according to John Abeigon, Newark Teachers Union President. “As an activist, Ras naturally became involved with the union and really extended his love for students from the classroom to the surrounding communities, becoming involved in anti-violence work which continues to this day,” said Abeigon.
Baraka helped bring the teachers’ union and community groups together to advocate for a return to local control for the school system and bring the process through to fruition as mayor, according to Abeigon. “As we return to local control of the schools for the first time in more than two decades, we are proud to endorse an educator who is ‘one of our own’ for mayor,” said Abeigon.
As a registered nurse who played a key role in organizing nurses and health professionals to form Health Professionals and Allied Employees (HPAE) union locals 5089 and 5094 at University Hospital, Bernie Gerard knows the key role the hospital plays as the state’s premier trauma center and a critical source of medical care for many Newark residents. “Preserving healthcare services at University Hospital is essential to protecting the health needs of our community,” said Gerard. “HPAE members are working together with Mayor Ras Baraka to demand transparency and accountability to shine the light on any efforts to privatize or reduce services at our community hospital. As healthcare workers, our priority is to protect patient care and Mayor Baraka has shown his commitment to stand with HPAE in protecting services and care at University Hospital.”
In addition to NTU educators and HPAE healthcare workers, the American Federation of Teachers represents many other education workers in Newark. Faculty and staff at Rutgers University, adjunct faculty, graduate workers, postdocs and researchers at NJIT, and adjunct faculty at Essex County College are all AFT members, according to AFTNJ President Donna M. Chiera. “We were proud to work on getting out the labor and community vote for Mayor Baraka’s first election and glad to see the growth in Newark accompanied by an emphasis on making sure that growth benefits working families throughout the city,” Chiera said.
Mayor Baraka said he is honored to receive an endorsement from “incredible people dedicated to shaping the hearts and minds of young people and providing caring healthcare.” Baraka said, “As a former teacher and principal, I understand the dedication and effort it takes to work with our young people and help them live to their fullest potential. Teachers and healthcare workers deserve a committed advocate working on their behalf as well. I will continue be an advocate for education and healthcare in our communities now and for years to come.”
For more about AFTNJ, see www.aftnj.org. For more about the Newark Teachers Union, see http://newark.nj.aft.org. For more about HPAE, see www.hpae.org. For more about Mayor Baraka, see http://rasjbaraka.com .