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April 3rd and 4th, 2018, as a follow-up to the milestone State of the Black World Conference IV convened in Newark in November of 2016, scores of distinguished urban planners, community economic development specialists, business and professional leaders and potential investors gathered in Newark from across Black America to explore ways to support Mayor Ras J. Baraka’s progressive vision for people and neighborhood-centered economic development.

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Newark As Model City National Town Hall

Video recorded April 3, 2018, Newark NJ


Media Release — April 10, 2018


Economic Summit Supports Newark, NJ as a ‘Model City’

Coming out of its recent successful Marshall Plan Symposium, Economic Summit and National Town Hall Meeting, April 3-4 in Newark, NJ, the Institute of the Black World 21st Century (IBW) is calling for a bold and innovative “21st Century Marshall Plan” to rebuild urban America and to support Newark’s quest to become a ‘Model City.’

The Newark events were dedicated to the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the 50th Anniversary of his martyrdom in Memphis and were consistent with IBW’s ongoing efforts to highlight the United Nations Decade for People of African Descent.

Scores of African American community economic development specialists, urban planners, community organizers, and scholar/activists along with leaders from the civil rights, faith, and business communities gathered to discuss a wide range of strategies for revitalizing urban communities across the country.

Several participants cited the success of the U.S. Government’s Marshall Plan in the 1950s, a $19 billion program that assisted in rebuilding Europe after the devastation of World War II. Whitney M. Young, Executive Director of the National Urban League, first proposed a “Domestic Marshall Plan” in 1964. Since then, the Urban League has been at the forefront in advocating the Marshall Plan idea and recently released a ‘Main Street Marshall Plan’ under the current President/CEO, Marc Morial.

The stellar assembly of resource persons also explored ways to aggregate human and material resources from Black America to complement and supplement the development plans and strategies which have been devised to transform Newark into a ‘Model City’ under the leadership of a progressive and visionary African American Mayor, the Hon. Ras J. Baraka.

Flowing out of the fruitful deliberations, an ‘Action Agenda’ is now being shaped for implementation by leaders and organizations committed to partnering with IBW to propagate the urgent need for an urban Marshall Plan and to move forward with the Newark as ‘Model City’ initiative.

At the Town Hall meeting, keynote speaker Danny Glover, prominent actor/activist and UN ambassador for the Decade of People of African Descent, spoke passionately to over 500 persons assembled at Newark’s historic Robert Treat Hotel. “In the spirit of Dr. King, let us honor his legacy and his sacrifice to rebuild our inner cities and strengthen the ‘beloved community’ that he envisioned.”

In his address to the Town Hall Meeting, Mayor Baraka welcomed the support for his city and pledged to continue collaborating with IBW and its allies on the broader campaign to promote an Urban Marshall Plan to revitalize long neglected and distressed cities across the country.

“We intend to establish a Task Team to develop a consensus on the essential principles and substance of a visionary and bold 21st Century Marshall Plan using the National Urban League’s Mainstreet Marshall Plan as a point of reference,” said IBW’s President Dr. Ron Daniels. “Our objective is to formulate legislation to be introduced in Congress.”

The Task Team will request a meeting with leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) to encourage the CBC to introduce legislation to enact an Urban Marshall Plan. IBW has requested that the Reinvestment Initiative of the Center for Community Change, under the direction of Dr. Charlene Sinclair, play a leading role in devising a multifaceted education and movement building strategy in support of Marshall Plan legislation. The Movement for Black Lives, Dream Defenders and other organizations with similar missions will be invited to participate in this historic effort as well.

“We also are eager to continue working closely with Rev. Michael McBride, Director of Urban Strategies, PICO National Network to approach the Association of African American Mayors to support the concept of a 21st Century Marshall Plan,” added Dr. Daniels.  “Hopefully, a select group of mayors can be identified who will agree to join Mayor Ras Baraka at the forefront of this crucial movement.”

As it relates to the Newark As Model City Initiative, IBW is committed to assist the City’s Department of Economic and Housing Development to strengthen the infrastructure of Black and Brown-led community development corporations by identifying resource people to provide technical assistance and leadership development training. It is anticipated that the African American Empowerment Network in Omaha, Nebraska, under the leadership of Willie Barney, will be enlisted to support this important work.

In addition, IBW has designated Dr. Michael Roberts, Chairman/CEO, The Roberts Companies and Randall Pinkett, President/CEO, BCT Partners, to jointly coordinate the exploration of investment opportunities in support of Newark’s Development Plan.

“There is tremendous excitement in the air about what was accomplished April 3-4 in Newark”, Daniels commented. “With the collective brilliance, experience, expertise and commitment of the Resource Persons who gathered in Newark, these Initiatives could be a gamechanger for Black America!”

Contact: Don Rojas by phone 410-844-1031 or email

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Resource Persons

The following is a list of participating economic development specialists, urban planners, community organizers, scholar/activists and leaders from the civil rights, faith, and business communities.

  • Dr. Bernard Anderson
    Whitney M. Young, Jr. Professor of Management, Emeritus, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
  • Archange Antoine
    M.A., Executive Director, Faith in New Jersey, Pico National Network, Camden, NJ
  • Willie Barney
    President & Facilitator, African American Empowerment Network, Omaha, NE
  • Ron Busby
    President, National Black Chambers,
    Washington, DC
  • Damereo Cooper
    Executive Director, Ohio Organizing Collaborative, Youngstown, OH
  • Donald Cravins
    Executive Director, National Urban League’s Washington Bureau, Washington, D.C.
  • Rev. Dennis Dillon
    Senior Pastor, The Rising Center, Brooklyn, NY
  • Dr. Zienzile Dillon
    Global President, Marketplace Calling International (MCI), Zimbabwe and Brooklyn, NY
  • Dr. Devin Fergus
    Distinguished Professor of History and Black Studies, University of Missouri, Colombia, MO
  • Dr. Nishani Frazier
    Associate Professor of History, Miami University, Oxford, OH
  • Michael Grant
    Regional President, United Security Financial Mortgage, Inc., Immediate Past President, National Bankers Association, Nashville, TN
  • Dr. David Harris
    Executive Director, The Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, Harvard Law School, Boston, MA
  • Byron Hobbs
    Sr., Organizer, Center for Community Change, Chicago, IL
  • Seft Hunter
    Executive Director, Communities Creating Opportunity, Kansas City, MO/KS
  • Dr. Jemadari Kamara
    Director, Center for African, Caribbean and Community Development, University of Massachusetts/Boston, Boston, MA
  • Nataki Kambon
    Small Business Development and Management Consultant/Activist, Nu Business Solutions/Let’s Buy Black 365 Movement, Washington, DC
  • Woullard Lett
    Community Economic Development , Practitioner/Organizational Management Consultant, Manchester, NH
  • Rev. Michael McBride
    Director, Urban Strategies Director, Pico National Network, Oakland, CA
  • Imam Aqeel Mateen
    Imam of Masjid Ash Shifaa, President of United Muslim Inc., Newark, NJ
  • Don Maxwell
    President, Former Executive Director, Prospect Business Association, Executive Director, Community Development Corporation, Kansas City, MO/KS
  • Chirag Mehta
    Sr. Policy Analyst, Center for Community Change, Chicago, IL
  • Michael Middleton
    Executive Director, Cherry Hill Community Development Corporation Inclusionary Task Force, Baltimore, MD
  • Rachelle Morgan-Ceaser
    MPA-CPM, Policy Analyst, Office of Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, Gary, IN
  • Randal Pinkett
    President/CEO, BCT Partners and Winner of NBC’s the Apprentice, Newark, NJ
  • Michael Roberts
    Chairman and CEO, The Roberts Companies, St. Louis, MO
  • Dr. Mtangulizi Sanyika
    Community Economic Development Pioneer, Senior Planner, International Development Consultant, Retired Professor, Houston, TX
  • Dr. Charlene Sinclair
    Director for Reinvestment, Center for Community Change, Washington, DC
  • Clement Sinclair
    Program Associate, Center for Community Change, Washington, DC
  • Rev. Ronald Slaughter
    Senior Pastor, St. James AME Church, Newark, NJ
  • Steven J. Smith
    Executive Director, Public Policy Institute, National Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, Washington, DC
  • Dr. H. Ahada Stanford
    Director, Neighborhood Business Development, Department of Commerce, Philadelphia, PA
  • Shango Taha
    Senior Community Economic Development Planner, Kumase Development Associates, Washington, DC
  • Rashad Taylor
    Chief Equity Officer, City of Atlanta, Atlanta, GA
  • Honorable Dahlia Verteese
    Mayor, Hillside, NJ
  • Rev. Dr. Jonathan Weaver
    Founding President, Collective Empowerment Group, Baltimore, MD
  • Junius Williams, Esq.
    Distinguished Director Emeritus, The Abbott Leadership Institute, Rutgers University/Newark, Newark, NJ
  • Kyle Williams, Esq.
    Director for Financial and Housing Policy, National Urban League, Washington, DC
  • Dr. Zachery Williams
    Professor of African American History, University of Akron, Coordinator, IBW Research Consortium, Akron, OH
  • Jayme Wooten
    Founder/ Chief Social Impact Strategist, Strategist CLLCTIVLY, Co-Founder Baltimore United for Change, Baltimore, MD

City of Newark

  • Carmelo G. Garcia
    MSIS, IM, CPM, Acting Deputy Mayor/Director of Economic and Housing Development
  • Aondrette Christian
    Assistant Director/Chief of Staff Department of Economic and Housing Development

Other Staff

  • Annette Muhammad, Julio Colon, Frankly Ore, Jorge Saptoka, Susan Brown, Christopher Colley

Institute of the Black World 21st Century

  • Dr. Ron Daniels
    President, New York, NY
  • Rosaline Preudhomme
    Executive Assistant, Brooklyn, NY
  • Don Rojas
    Director of Communications, Baltimore, MD

Acknowledgements & Special Thanks

  • The Honorable Ras J. Baraka, Host
  • Carmelo Garcia
  • Tariq El Shabazz
  • Aondrette Christian
  • Malkia King
  • The Staff of the Department of Economic and Housing Development, City of Newark

National Planning/Implementation Committee

  • Dr. Zachery Williams
  • Dr. Mtangulizi Sanyika
  • Nataki Kambon
  • Kyle Williams, Esq.
  • Junius Williams, Esq.
  • Rosaline Preudhomme, General Coordinator
  • Carolyn McClair, Assistant Coordinator
  • Maurice Rawles, Coordinator, Transportation and Protocol
  • Don Rojas, Director of Communications

Newark Host Committee

  • Dr. Monique Swift, Coordinator
  • Alnisa Muhammad
  • Ingrid Hill
  • Dana Cumberlander
  • Lisa Muhammad
  • Rick Robinson
  • Ali Muhammad
  • Jamil Debe
  • Barbara King

Special Thanks

  • Rev. Michael McBride, Sponsorship of the Pico National Network’s Urban Strategies Initiative
  • Dr. Charlene Sinclair, Support of the Center for Community Change
  • Marc Morial, Support of the National Urban League
  • George Fraser, Support of Fraser Net/Power Networking Conference
  • Shah Dean, Blessom Samuel, Leon Drogy, Gladys Colon and the Staff of The Robert Treat Hotel. The Preferred Venue for IBW’s Newark As Model City Initiative Programs