NEWARK — Newark's mayor is introducing legislation to denounce hate crimes, racism, police brutality and to declare white supremacy groups terrorists in his city.
Mayor Ras Baraka announced the proposals Friday.
“We are long overdue on a measure such as this,” Mayor Baraka said. “For this country to heal, we must begin to legally challenge the insidious and dehumanizing tenets of white supremacy, once and for all. We must stand up forcefully against racism and have the courage to take on the legal challenges an ordinance such as this will attract.”
The ordinance establish a registry of hate groups existing in the United States and declare any groups on the list as terrorists, making them banned from the city and "any actions by them illegal."
“This ordinance is no publicity stunt,” Baraka said. “These groups are a serious threat right here in New Jersey.”
The ordinance also closes a precinct of the Newark Police Division by the end of 2021, with the building being turned into a museum, "detailing the history of the Newark Police Department including the positive progress it has made with community relations, an office of workforce development, the headquarters for the Anti-Violence Initiative and a trauma center for health recovery and healing from acts of violence."
All acts of racism by city employees will result in automatic termination. Employees who fail to take action if they witness these acts will also be terminated.
“We will welcome challenges to the ordinance," said Newark Corporation Counsel Kenyatta Stewart. "You can’t enjoy free speech when you can’t breathe, and our first human right is to be able to live.”