On Friday, September 27, 2002, Hip Hop artist
and one time school teacher Ras Baraka was sworn in as one of four Deputy Mayors
for the city of Newark, New Jersey. Baraka is the son of poet Amiri Baraka,
and will head up Youth and Social Service Programs in Newark. Baraka will continue
his position as Assistant Principal at Weequahic High School.
Baraka, a native of his municipality explains
that his focus will be on “redistributing resources to the hands of the
people, especially in the areas of education, employment, and recreation.”
He believes this is essential to maintaining Newark’s resurgence.
In 1994, Baraka ran for Mayor coming in third
place against a formidable incumbent and in 1998, he ran for councilman-at-large
and won the general election, but lost in the runoff by a very small margin.
Over the years, Ras has received the political endorsements of a broad range
of people including Maya Angelou, Russell Simmons, the Rev. Al Sharpton, and