East Orange, NJ, September 1, 2023: On Thursday, August 31, 2023, Mayor Ted R. Green joined Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka, President of the New Jersey Urban Mayor’s Association, and fellow urban mayors for a Community Violence Intervention Summit with U.S. Senator Cory Booker and U.S. Congressman Donald Payne, Jr. at NJIT in Newark.
The purpose of the summit was to discuss Sen. Booker’s Community Based Violence Intervention and Prevention Initiative, which aims to prevent and disrupt cycles of violence and retaliation in urban communities. The roundtable discussions focused on efforts that Mayor Green and his administration have been aggressively addressing in East Orange.
Reducing community violence and the behaviors that contribute to it requires an all-hands-on-deck approach and Mayor Green is committed to using all resources – federal, state, county and local – to address the root causes of gun violence and develop strategies to promote long-term public safety for East Orange citizens.
During the Q&A session, Mayor Green focused his attention on several key issues, including amending the controversial bail reform law in New Jersey. In its current state, the new bail reform legislation makes it possible for violent criminals to get out of jail following a bail hearing. Since its implementation, Mayor Green and other elected officials have lobbied for stricter rules for the release of suspects charged with gun possession.
“It makes it hard for our police officers and dangerous for our community when a suspect gets caught with a gun and the next day they are back out on the street,” said Mayor Green.
Although the City of East Orange has experienced a decrease in overall crime this past year, the recent shooting deaths of two local high school students – Letrell Duncan and Nicholas Edwards – led Mayor Green to galvanize a coalition of individuals, clergy and community-based organizations to address gun violence among our youth.
As a result, the City:
- Established the Mayor’s Street Engagement Team, a group of reformed residents who provide intervention and mentorship for at-risk youth
- Started “Open Gym” at Fresh Start Academy, an after-school recreation and mentoring program geared toward high school youth
- Expanded At-Risk Youth Training and Employment Programs for ages 18-25
- Created a new slate of after-school enrichment programming for children ages 14-18
- Hosted Pop-Up Block Parties with EOPD and EOFD throughout the summer to foster positive relationships between police and residents
- Sponsored targeted Community Resource Fairs in conjunction with the newly-formed East Orange Bronze Shields, a minority police advocacy organization
- Expanded summer jobs by 25%
- Collaborated with East Orange School District to continue a Peer Mental Health Ambassador Program to address mental health among students
In order to amplify the City’s ongoing crime prevention efforts, Mayor Green asked Sen. Booker about federal funding to open a Violence and Trauma Prevention Unit in the community, how to tap into the Department of Justice’s $5 billion in grants for criminal, juvenile justice and survivor programming, and what federal resources are available to support post-prison reentry services at the local level.
“Public safety is a driving factor in every community. Everyone wants and deserves to feel safe in their own neighborhood. We are investing our resources and manpower to focus on strategies that will put our young people on a trajectory toward success,” said Mayor Green. “I am committed to prioritizing prevention-based approaches that will support our end goal: raising our village and preserving peace in our city.”
If you are interested in any of our violence intervention programs or becoming a volunteer/mentor, please call the Mayor’s Office of Constituent Services at 973.266.5151.