Newark is battling a spike in violence. Local elected officials and advocates hope to combat the issue by holding the city’s first-ever “Peace Week” set for Aug. 30 through Sept. 5.
Some of Newark’s recent shooting incidents include the killing of a 34-year-old man last week near Spruce Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard. Reports indicate police found the man’s body on the sidewalk when they were responding to the shooting.
Last Sunday, Newark saw six people injured in separate shootings. Two weeks ago, two men were killed in separate shootings over the course of two days. The body of Tony Madison, 36, was found by police on Avon Avenue. The next day, police found the body of Antonio McCrimmon, 27, who was shot and later died at the hospital.
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka’s Office of Violence Prevention and Trauma Recovery and the Brick City Peace Collective are organizing the Peace Week. The events will include Health and Wellness Wednesday, a Resource Fair, a Day of Remembrance, and “24 Hours of Peace” at Broad and Market Streets.
“Creating a more peaceful City of Newark is about providing our residents with hope, empowerment, positive choices and alternatives to crime and violence,” said Baraka. “Peace Week will bring our diverse community together in unity.”
Lakeesha Eure, director of the Office of Violence Prevention and Trauma Recovery, said the goal for the event is to educate the community on the true meaning of peace.
“‘Peace’ stands for Proper Education Always Corrects Errors,” she said. “This is our guiding principle not only during Peace Week, but we want our residents to always know that peace is a choice and a lifestyle.”
The Newark AntiViolence Coalition (NAVC) condemned the spike of gun violence as several area shootings jarred the community. The community organization says Peace Week should be an opportunity for cities such as Newark, Jersey City, Paterson, Trenton, Camden and others to advocate for resources for violence interrupters. Money was recently earmarked for community-based violence reduction strategies by President Joe Biden nationally and Gov. Phil Murphy locally.
“Let us remember that COVID-19 is not our ‘only’ public health crisis that our community is facing. COVID and the enormous anxieties it has created compounds a community already grappling tooth and nail with a gun violence pandemic,” said Zayid Muhammad, media advocate for NAVC. “We are proud of the work that so many are doing to reduce this gun violence pandemic, but when it happens like this, it still unnerves so many in our community, even though we have reduced the overall violence.”