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Baraka officially takes over as mayor

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After his May election victory over Shavar Jeffries, Ras Baraka began to slowly lay the groundwork for his time as mayor. That time officially began as the calendar turned to July.

Once sworn in as the 40th mayor in the city's history, he would state;

We are not from North Newark, we are from Newark. We are not from the South Ward. We are from Newark. I was born here in Newark. This day was made for us. There were many who thought this day would never come. There was an army of cynics that thought we couldn't see ourselves differently, that we didn't have what it takes to stand on this stage today, who sowed the seeds of doubt and encouraged disbelief. But by God's grace, I'll be able to look back on this day and say that they were wrong.

While there are certainly divided points of view in the city, Baraka certainly was looking to set the tone that the city must come together for his goals to be achieved and the city to move forward in his vision.

As he would continue,

We have a budget crisis that gets larger as the cost of living increases and our revenues remain flat. Our children have chosen violence as language and turned their back on their own imaginations. We have a bitter struggle over our schools and a battle over who should lead them. Some have chosen dogma over families, expediency over democracy, and even real estate over education. Years from now when we look back on this day, let us say that this was the day that we all decided to fight back. Let us say that this was the day that we did it together, that we sacrificed our right now for a better tomorrow.

Baraka basically touched upon the three biggest areas facing him as he takes over: the city's budget, the city's violence, and the city's education system.

The crowd gathered in Newark was largely favorable to the new mayor and his style; one that is radical and something that Baraka embraces as he hopes to take the city in a different direction than former mayor and U.S. Senator Cory Booker.

Embracing that radical philosophy, Baraka would add;

We need a mayor that marches, and a mayor that builds. We need a mayor that speaks, and a mayor that inspires. A mayor that creates, and a mayor that negotiates. But we also need a mayor that protects us, that protests when he needs to, and speaks up when he has to.

Baraka would also turn toward what the short-term future of Newark would look like by outlining,

The first 100 days are completely dedicated to the people of this city - to make sure that all of the things that Newark has wanted, prayed for and fought for, that God gave me the ability to do today, happens. Whether it be safe streets, jobs, families that are struggling, and a city that everybody can be proud of again.

Furthermore, Baraka would expand his vision for the city and its future by exclaiming;

Newark is truly getting ready to experience a renaissance, a renaissance that many of us have been waiting for for a very, very, very long time. God is going to make the world look at Newark. God is going to make the world watch Newark. And what we're going to do in Newark is going to be duplicated around the country. And in the words of (former Newark Mayor) Ken Gibson, wherever the world is going, Newark is going to get there first. I believe in Newark, and I know you believe in Newark, too. Enjoy yourself. Have a great time, party all night, because tomorrow, we begin work. We're going to show the rest of the state of New Jersey that here in Newark, we mean business.

Baraka now moves from his words during his campaign to what type of actions he hopes to accomplish in Newark. It will likely be a different type of governance than much of the last decade. That may or may not be what is best for the city and its future and time will tell what lies ahead for the city and its new mayor.

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