EAST ORANGE, NJ — East Orange 5th Ward Councilman Mustafa Brent recently joined forces with several other people for a “One United” rally on Saturday, March 18, to repudiate what he called President Donald Trump’s anti-Islamic, anti-Muslim and anti-immigration rhetoric and policies.
Inclement weather, however, postponed the event until Saturday, April 8, when it is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m, beginning at 465 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Newark, outside of the Essex County Courthouse and Hall of Records, and finishing on the steps of City Hall at 946 Broad St.
On Monday, April 3, East Orange Council Chairman Ted Green said he plans to attend the event. “I’m going to attend; I’m part of the program and I’m happy to be part of the program, but I plan to be there as Ted Green, an American citizen and taxpayer speaking out for what’s right in regard to human rights, not as Council Chairman Ted Green or Councilman Ted Green or as a candidate for mayor of East Orange.”
Green spoke as he and his fellow Green Team in 2017 teammates, 1st Ward Councilman Chris James and current Board of Education President and 3rd Ward council candidate Bergson Leneus turned in their nominating petitions a the East Orange City Clerk’s Office.
“I think what President Donald Trump is doing is wrong. There should be some kind of control over how he’s trying to implement immigration reform, but we want to make sure that we stand up for the people who contribute to this community and who have made a positive difference in this community.”
Brent and the other “One United” rally organizers said they would be happy to have Green participate. Brent is also a captain in the East Orange Fire Department, as well as a practicing Muslim, as is Green, who worships regularly at Masjid As-Habul Yameen on 18th Street in his ward.
“Individuals in the United States and other countries are joining together in unity to protest their outrage against the policies established by the Trump administration,” Brent wrote in an email Monday, April 3. “As a sitting member of the East Orange City Council, I believe that, as an elected official, I have an obligation to protect the rights of our constituents and their families. This administration is moving swiftly and we cannot sit idly while they attempt to place undue hardships on our communities. Toward that end, I have partnered with Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka, Essex County Freeholder President Britnee Timberlake, 1st Ward Councilman Chris James, city of Orange Township Council President Donna K. Williams and Larry Hamm, founder and president of the People’s Organization for Progress, to organize an effort in Essex County to voice our outrage.”
“We stand at a crossroads, like so many times in our nation’s history, where our humanity, civility and constitutional rights are being violated,” Brent said Tuesday, March 7, and again on Monday, April 3. “Dr. Martin L. King Jr. stated: ‘All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.’ Again, I urge you to stand with us in unity, as we labor as one united voice and galvanize our efforts during these alarming times to address the current executive orders of the Trump administration that will adversely impact our respective communities.”
Hamm also quoted King in discussing the People’s Organization for Progress’s reasons for participating in the rally.
“Dr. King said: ‘An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere,’” Hamm said Wednesday, March 29, during a peaceful protest rally organized by the Newark Anti-Violence Coalition. That rally was in response to the death of Maplewood grandmother Deborah Gordon, who was killed in Newark on Monday, March 13, during a trip to the new ShopRite on Springfield Avenue in Newark.
The April 8 “One United” march and rally happens to coincide with Hamm and P.O.P.’s participation in the Newark Anti-Violence Coalition’s Week of Action for Victims of Violence that Zayid Muhammad and others helped kickoff at Central High School in Newark on Sunday, April 2, at the “I Am a Survivor Day” event that featured the survivors of acts of violence.
Hamm and Brent said they “welcome and encourage” participation. To learn more about the rally, contact Brent at 973-419-2234 or email@example.com or through the event’s outreach coordinator, Lena Ragin, at 973-776-2728 or firstname.lastname@example.org.