Kate Childs Graham
WASHINGTON— American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on the election of Ras Baraka as Newark's mayor:
"Throughout his campaign Ras Baraka said, 'When I become mayor, we all become mayor.' In a city where the voices of community members are too often ignored, Mayor-elect Baraka has proven his commitment to giving voice to those who live the reality of Newark day in and day out. The community of Newark has spoken: They want all children to get a high-quality education regardless of their ZIP code, and they want both high-quality neighborhood schools and high-quality healthcare.
"This week's victory was a clear win for public education and community healthcare in Newark. We look forward to working with Mayor-elect Baraka to return Newark schools to local control. We look forward to working with him to help every struggling school succeed, as he did for Central High School; to strengthen every neighborhood school; and to protect Newark's essential community hospitals. Neither high-quality healthcare nor safe, welcoming neighborhood schools with wraparound services are out of reach for the Newark community. The AFT—along with the Newark Teachers Union, AFT-New Jersey, the Health Professionals and Allied Employees/AFT, and, of course, Mayor-elect Baraka—will keep on reaching. Reclaiming the promise of public education and healthcare in Newark is within our grasp."