COVID-19 is testing Newark's resilience and rise. We are one of America's oldest cities and home to those disproportionately affected by this pandemic—our working class, our black, Hispanic and immigrant residents, and those struggling against poverty—in percentages that far exceed those of most other cities.
Nonetheless, our hometown will build back better: more equitable, more agile, more connected and more innovative.
Our city has wrestled with the issues of inequity for generations, which this pandemic has brought to bear. But in recent years, once seemingly unmovable problems have begun to shift.
Crime rates are down, high school graduation rates are up, neighborhoods are vibrant, artistry abounds, and fast-growing companies are moving in.
Fueling this progress are lessons of partnership strengthened in the crucible moments of our city's unrest in 1967, the financial crises of 1987 and 2008, and after 9/11.
Before the pandemic, there was much work to be done to make Newark a place of true opportunity. COVID-19 has set our progress back, but we are ready.
Our way forward will be through cross-sector and cross-community partnerships that leave no one behind. We offer Newark's approach as a blueprint for other cities to build back better, too.
It's about the basics done right through collaboration. Leaders of our universities, hospitals, arts centers, nonprofit organizations, companies and local government work in partnership with entrepreneurs, religious leaders, artists, visionaries and activists toward a Newark-forward vision of shared prosperity, galvanized around seven key principles:
This pandemic has demonstrated that the moral and the economic imperative for inclusive growth are one and the same. We cannot let another crisis cycle go by where we disregard our interconnectedness.
Cities everywhere touched by COVID-19, like ours, have an opportunity to build back better through true collaborative efforts in order to emerge from this crisis more just, more prosperous and more resilient.
Lata N. Reddy leads inclusive growth strategies for Prudential Financial and serves on the Newark Reopening and Recovery Strikeforce. Mayor Ras J. Baraka is the 40th mayor of the City of Newark and his progressive approach to governing has continued to move Newark forward since taking office in 2014. A Newark native, his family has lived in the city for more than 80 years. Michael B. Jordan is an actor, producer, entrepreneur, Newark native and early supporter of Newark Working Kitchens.