Lauding hi-tech education, Sharpton at his side, Murphy doubles down on courting Newark vote

Democratic runningmate Sheila Oliver, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy, the Rev. Johnnie Green, the Rev. Al Sharpton and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka at a campaign stop in Newark.

With the Rev. Al Sharpton at his side, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy made a campaign stop today at a hi-tech education center in Newark's South Ward, saying the state needed to support urban youth to succeed in a globalized and digitized economy. 

"We've got to be here, backing up these kids, to make sure that they can achieve all that they can achieve," said Murphy, flanked by Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and Newark native Sheila Oliver, the Democratic lieutenant gubernatorial candidate. "Centers like this are at the very center of our economy. This is the future of our economy." 

Murphy appeared at NAN Newark Tech World, a center dedicated to improving Internet-based technological skills critical for many careers in the increasingly digital economy. A key part of the center's mission is to provide access to opportunities available through the Internet by offering classes in computer training skills and other technology programs. 

Sign Up for E-News

The center is run by the National Action Newark, an organization that provides services to those in poverty, including supporting small community businesses. 

Lord Dowdell, director of NAN Newark Tech World, located on Hawthorne Avenue, spoke of the need to narrow the socioeconomic digital divide in order to boost employment opportunities for all Newarkers.

"We've heard from corporate leadership that they wish to hire more minorities, in particular in the black and brown communities, but they don't have the skill set for the jobs available," Dowdell said. "Our job is to target the skills that they're looking for and train people in those disciplines so that they can move in to fill those jobs." 

NAN was founded by Sharpton, a widely-known urban issues advocate and media personality. Sharpton was present to show support for the Democratic ticket and assert that the educational technology gap is a national issue that has a serious impact in cities such as Newark. 

"A problem that we face in this country is that we have ignored the impact of the digital divide. Automation has cost more jobs than immigration. If you're not talking about closing the digital divide, we still will be losing jobs, particularly in our community," Sharpton said. "If we don't bring a generation up that is very literate in terms of using the technology of the day, then we are rendering them toward being unemployed." 

Serving in the 1970s as soul legend James Brown's tour manager, Sharpton has been well known since the 1980s for his fiery advocacy for a range of causes, including protesting against police brutality in cities around the country and his support for Tawana Brawley, who falsely accused four white men of rape in the late 1980s. He is now the host of a Sunday morning news program on MSNBC. 

Murphy has been no stranger to Newark, New Jersey's largest city, during his campaign. His decision to concentrate heavily on Newark, the source of the largest number of Democratic votes in New Jersey, in the fall of 2015 helped clear the field of several potential primary rivals and played a critical role in his eventual Democratic primary win this June. 

But as the campaign moves closer to November, Murphy will need to win critical independent, moderate suburban voters to win the election against Republican candidate Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno. Murphy said he sees no problem campaigning in Newark with Sharpton.

"We're not talking any vote for granted no matter where people live," Murphy told TAPinto Newark. "I've said so many times that as Newark goes, so goes the state of New Jersey. But I'm doing a town hall tonight in Middlesex County. We're walking and chewing gum. We have to do both." 

While Murphy referenced New Jersey's urban-suburban divide, Sharpton stuck to crossing economic boundaries in an already divided country. 

"The civil rights issue of the 21st century is that we already have a racial divide. Now we've got to deal with the digital divide," Sharpton said. "If not, we only bring racism to a new level. That we cannot do."

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


McGovern's summer renovation closing party celebrates change

June 16, 2018

It always takes a few seconds for your eyes to adjust when you walk into McGovern's Tavern in Newark, a downtown fixture since 1936.

But this Friday afternoon, there were two immediate sights that demonstrated something was different.

First, most of the photos, portraits, and articles that cover the bar's walls were removed, the relics of decades of history gone.

Second, you ...

Newark men honored for serving as role models by the Marion P. Thomas Charter School Foundation

June 11, 2018

Newark, NJ—Three local men and one corporation received awards from the Marion P. Thomas Charter School (MPTCS) Foundation at its annual “Fathers for our Children” Awards Ceremony and Scholarship Fundraiser.

This year’s award recipients are Modia "Mo" Butler, political strategist; the late Dr. Fabian Rice of RWJ/ Barnabas Health’s ...

Essex County Undersheriff Kevin Ryan dies

June 20, 2018

Kevin Ryan, a former Assemblyman from Nutley who served as an Essex County Undersheriff, has died.

Ryan, 49, served for nearly two decades in the Essex County Sheriff's Office, rising to the rank of undersheriff. He also served a year beginning in January 2011 as State Assemblyman before redistricting changes.  

Ryan was a close confidante of Essex County Sheriff ...

50 years after RFK assassination, the NBHS band’s moment is remembered

June 7, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - On a warm June day in 1968, 40 members of the New Brunswick High School band stood on the city train platform playing solemn hymns.

It was supposed to be a one-hour performance as they waited the train traveling from New York to Washington, carrying the body of a slain presidential candidate, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.

But one-hour dragged into two, and then three, as ...

Got junk? Rutgers students do

June 1, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK - On a thin tripod of supports, the black charcoal grill sat on top of love seat that was half on the street, half on the curb, outside a Delafield Street apartment.

As the college year ends, and this generation of Rutgers students empty out of apartments, their well-used but now discarded remains line city curbs, and sometimes spill into ...

Hearing Loss Common in School-Aged Children

May 30, 2018

With close to 15% of U.S. children ages 6–19 experiencing hearing loss, New Jersey Speech-Language-Hearing Association (NJSHA) notes that May Is Better Hearing & Speech Month is the ideal time for parents to learn more about the sometimes-subtle signs of hearing loss, ways it can affect school-aged children, and where to find help.

“Some children are born ...

Ensure Safe Sleep While Traveling with Baby

June 6, 2018

As we approach the summer, there will be plenty of expected travel for families, from visiting grandma at the beach to heading out on a long, well-deserved vacation. 

When staying overnight at a friend’s or family’s place, it is important to maintain the same sleep practices as you do at home. Your baby should be sleeping in a safe, modern crib that meets the latest ...