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As a housing developer and a community activist, I have a lot of reasons to walk around our city. It is something I really enjoy. I love bumping into people I know – and when I make the rounds to visit my tenants, it’s great to be able to take the temperature each day on how people are feeling.
Right now, the temperature is icy and so are feelings in Newark.
On days like the one we had on Monday I get nervous. Ice makes me nervous, not only because I can slip when walking around, but I worry about the safety of my tenants – and can’t help but think about the many in the city who need help and support on these cold days.
While MLK day is a day of celebration, reflection, and rest for most of all, I still took time today to be out and about, making sure our sidewalks had salt, everyone’s heat was working – and our tenants were in good shape. Because of the weather and Holiday, the pace of things in Newark were slower than normal, and I did a lot of thinking today outside.
With my very wet coat and cold hands today, I realized something I wanted to share – ice makes me nervous, and that feeling is the same exact one I have had over the last couple of years sharing my concerns about the city. It’s the same pit-in-my-stomach feeling.
Let’s face it: We all have a collective pit in our stomachs that has nothing to do with the weather.
Each of us is feeling uncertain and even anxious about the state of our city.
Just a few days ago, like so many other parents, I tried to start the New Year clinging to some sense of optimism but it wasn’t easy. There is so much to worry about right now, and I am not talking about the ice on the ground.
We saw it yet again just a few days ago.
This Chalkbeat story says it all:
Classes starting late due to technical issues. Confusion among teachers about whether to work from home or at school. Spotty attendance in classes, in some cases due to a lack of devices or internet connection.
After two full years (and a third school year) of the pandemic, why can’t Newark Superintendent Roger Leon figure this out?
All I know is this – ice comes every winter and there is nothing I can do about it. Even though I hate it, I do not ignore it. As a developer, and as someone who has tenants that rely on me, I always have a plan, at the ready, to deal with ice. I know it is going to happen so I am prepared.
We are now almost three years into COVID, yet our school district continues to be unprepared. I just do not get it!
Our school district continues to provide unreliable information. Our superintendent continues to be MIA. And our kids end up suffering the most.
I will say it again and continue to say it – What is Leon’s plan for our kids?
With $300 million coming from the federal government, the money is there. What’s needed is leadership. Leadership that shows our kids the adults in charge know what they’re doing. Leadership that shows our teachers they are valued as people and professionals. Leadership that helps parents like me feel a little less like we’re on our own.
Anxiety is real in Newark right now. Every time we read a new news report about Leon’s bungling of the school district, concern, frustration, and nervousness grows.
Newark, this will not change unless we do something about it. It’s time we melt the ice