Newark Mayor Ras Baraka assails gun laws, ‘rugged individualism’ at Jersey City NAACP banquet


Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, the keynote speaker of the 94th annual Jersey City NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet, spoke out against gun laws and “rugged individualism” within the black community.


The Jersey City Branch of the NAACP hosted 94th annual Freedom Fund Banquet on Sunday in Lincoln Park. The event, which was held in tribute for the late poet and civil rights icon Maya Angelou, honored six Jersey City residents:

Rev. Joseph L. Jones – Pastor of the Monumental Baptist Church

Earl Morgan – Columnist for the Jersey Journal

Tyrone Rose – President of Independent Beauty Supply

Eleanor Watson – President & CEO of the Hudson County Urban League

Elnardo Webster Sr. – Director of the 21st Century CCLC Institute of Excellence

Dr. Michael A. Winds – Director of Division A-Jersey City Public Schools and former Lincoln High School principle

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, the keynote speaker of the event, began by speaking in favor of stricter gun control laws following the accidental shooting of a 9-year-old girl by her 12-year-old brother with an unlawfully possessed gun that was reported stolen in Alabama, according to reports.

Later on in the speech Baraka highlighted the politics of the moment, and the many challenges and issues facing African-Americans, while speaking out against “rugged individualism” as a problem within the black community.

The full speech can be watched here.

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  1. Baraka makes no sense blaming guns or gun laws. Look how many laws were broken in this shooting. A stolen gun, illegally possessed within reach of a minor. He should look at changing attitudes toward crime and drugs in Newark instead of blaming inanimate objects.

  2. If this is the mayor, then it’s no wonder why Newark is in such bad shape. Personal responsibility doesn’t exist in this man’s vocabulary. Which is a real shame considering that if 1/4 of the people took more accountability, there wouldn’t be as much crime or death. According to his logic, we need to outlaw, knives, axes, glass, pencils, cars, trucks, etc… because all of the above have been used to murder others and somehow influence violence and pose a danger to the public.

    Please do not ban anything. If someone’s going to kill me, I rather it be done with a gun.

  3. Ras Baraka makes it sound like guns are unleashing a war on the black community. Say what? Maybe he should first try to purchase a firearm legally in New Jersey fand see how difficult that is. He would be surprised at the process of buying a gun legally in his state. It’s not easy, quick or simple. It’s actually arduous. But when thugs skirt the laws, buy guns illegally on the street that were stolen or straw purchased; how is it that guns are the problem? Sounds to me that the problem is people procuring those guns (for whatever purpose) that is the problem.

  4. “rugged individualism”? Not sure what that means, but if it means not towing the machine line and being an Independent, that makes no sense. Also, why is the Mayor rubbing up with Jersey City Mayor Fulop? Fulop has stood by and watch black violence excalate with the growing disparity due to down town development.