On Wednesday, July 12th, the People’s Organization for Progress will host its annual Remembrance of the epic Newark Rebellion!

          This year will mark the 56th anniversary of the epic uprising.

          Participants will rally at Rebellion Monument Park at 5pm and will then march to the former 1st Precinct where the Uprising began.

          The Rebellion Monument is located at 250 Springfield Avenue, Newark.

          On July 12, 1967, the brutal, near fatal police beating of an AfricanAmerican Newark cabdriver named John Smith triggered one of the most important urban uprisings in the modern era. It would ignite over 100 uprisings around the country including the largest uprising in Detroit on July 25thIt would continue on until July 17th when occupying federal and state military forces finally withdrew from the beleaguered city.

          Although the historic uprising would take 26 lives, it would also ignite a wave of protest and organizing that would forever change the political landscape in segregated American cities, leading to the elections of a new generation of Black elected officials in largely Black communities by the full use and mobilization of a new access to the ballot and more. In Newark, that would mean electing Ken Gibson the first Black Mayor of a major eastern seaboard city and displacing urban gangster apartheid that brutally chained local politics prior to that groundbreaking election in June 1970.

          Newark would become the epicenter of the new national Black Power Movement as the late Amiri Baraka led pivotal organizations such as the Committee For A Unified Newark (CFUN) locally and the Congress of African People (CAP) nationally and launched the Black Arts Movement.

          Having survived a brutal police attack and arrest himself at the beginning of the uprising, Baraka courageously chaired the National Black Power Conference just days after the Rebellion in downtown Newark.

          Another national expression of the organizing that emerged from the Newark Uprising is what is known as ‘The Gary Convention,’ or the National Black Political Assembly and Convention. P.O.P. chairman Lawrence Hamm was one of the youngest delegates to that epic gathering that marked the full mobilization of the new emergence of the Black Vote.

          Recent years have seen Newark in the national conversation on the matter of police reform and community based violence intervention. Mayor Ras Baraka, the radical icon’s son, who initiated a protest intervention of street violence that was sustained for 155 consecutive weeks with the emergence of the Newark AntiViolence Coalition, has taken five percent of the Newark Police budget and invested in the development of a community based violence intervention ecosystem made up of wraparound social services and the use of professionally trained community based violence interventionists to address street violence at its source. Since the launch of those efforts, violent crime has been reduced to a 60 year low. The 1st Precinct, the site of the Uprising’s beginning  and once well known for police abuse, is now the city’s Office of Violence Prevention and Trauma Recovery.

          The People’s Organization of Progress and Mayor Baraka have  also been taking on the same question of police brutality and corruption when the Mayor sought to implement the strongest Civilian Review Board in the country upon his election in 2014, one with full subpoena power, one with the authority to do independent and concurrent investigations, one with genuine community character and one with a solid discipline matrix.

          After a bitter legal fight with the police unions, the NJ Supreme Court stripped the new Review Board of its critical authority, but said that it could be restored through statewide legislation.

          The People’s Organization for Progress and the Mayor are both a part of a statewide movement to have several major police reform bills passed into law, including the CCRB Bill A1515(McKnight ) that would mandate Civilian Review Boards with full all of the authority sought for in the original Newark effort for any municipality seeking one.

          “Do we realize that if we had Civilian Review Boards like what we are fighting for here in Newark, George Floyd would still be alive in Minnesota and Carl Dorsey would still be alive in Newark,” asked a passionate Lawrence Hamm on behalf of the organization.

          Both George Floyd and Carl Dorsey were killed by police officers with abuse on their records. Dorsey was killed in Newark on January 1st, 2021.

          For more information about the work of the People’s Organization for Progress, please call 973 801 0001…


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