It was a great Green Day for Newark as the Greater Newark community celebrated the South Wards first Green Roof Installation on top Level I Bakery on Bergen St. The event marks the ward's first official business Greening as part of the cities continuous mission to set the standard for urban transformation, as expressed by Newark Mayor, Cory A. Booker at the Newark's Green Future Summit earlier this year. The Urban Environmental Institute, Saving Our Selves, Inc., and Building Green Solutions, LLC, were joined by residents, city officials, and supporters to celebrate Green For All's Green Jobs Now national day of action.
A South Ward favorite for over twenty years, Mary Singleton's bakery has been known for homemade pies, fresh pastries, and great coffee. But as Jeanette Mitchell, UEI’s Policy Director explains, Level I is now the epicenter for the districts Greening goals. "I picked Level I because I knew Ms. Singleton had a great, flat roof, and that it would be the perfect location- being almost the epicenter of Bergen Street and this community. When the redevelopment money comes in next year for a couple million dollars it's great because we've already started the green movement here."
The Green movement in Newark goes far beyond recycling or open space redevelopment for aesthetic benefits. Albeit important aspects of the national Green mission, Kim Gaddy, UEI Director, expresses the socio-economic solutions the Newark Green initiative provides. “The Green movement is the only movement that can move our children out of poverty. It is jobs such as this- where you can install a cool/reflective roof with a group of youngsters who are trying to get their lives together.” Participants of Level I’s installation are graduates of UEI as well as SOS, an intervention program that provides former gang members the opportunity to build their resume with meaningful work experience. It is partnerships like these that give communities, organizations, and investors the wherewithal to bring Newark’s Green future to life.
In brickerati style, the collaboration of community volunteers and local supporters resonates through toil and laughter, "We're ready for Green jobs!" making the unique task of Greening an urban community holistically rewarding.