In America, youth ages 15–24 who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer are 120% more likely to experience homelessness than their non-LGBTQ peers.
Displaced Yet Not Discouraged: A Profile of Don Knight-Powell
By Alonzo S. Blalock
Photo of Don Knight-Powell
In America, youth ages 15–24 who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer are 120% more likely to experience homelessness than their non-LGBTQ peers. Of the 1.6 million homeless youth each year, up to 40% are LGBTQ — meaning around 640,000 queer teens and young adults are left to seek shelter and other resources on their own. I recently sat down with Don Knight-Powell, a 22-year resident of Essex County, to recount his story of trauma and triumph as a gay black man finding his way home.
At the age of three, Don was adopted into a Jamaican, two-parent home that already had a son. He recognized early on that he was considerably queer and recalled being chastised exhibiting behaviors not considered masculine. By 14, he was clear about his attraction to men yet had not self-identified as gay until his first sexual experience at 18. His early teen years were plagued with being grounded for looking at pictures of boys or more explicit content on the internet. “You don’t really feel comfortable in a society growing up as a kid being yourself,” Knight-Powell says.
Read the rest of Don's Story here.
This feature was completed by our Spring 2021 Reporting Alum, Alonzo S. Blalock. Learn more about Alonzo here.
Introducing Our Creative-In-Residence
You've seen "Newark is for Artists" and "Newark is for Hustlers" on t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, and stickers across the city. Newark Native Gabriel Ribeiro is the person behind The Nork Project. Ribeiro will be joining our team as the Creative-In-Residence. During his Spring 2022 residency, Riberio will work with us as a partner in community engagement, sharing community stories of resistance, and self-publish a photo essay on remembering self and life as a resident in Newark. We are excited to welcome Gabriel to our team and look forward to his sharing work with you!
Headshot of Gabriel R.
Gabriel Ribeiro is a self-taught artist born and raised in Newark, NJ. His practice is at the intersection of street art, streetwear, and community activism, and it begins in the context of being a first-generation immigrant living in a city. Cities are capitals of protest and self-realization — spaces where those without power can make their history and culture. His work looks to normalize empowerment activism and make people aware of their right to the city.
Newark Summer Youth Applications are Open!
It is that time of the year! All youth ages 14-24 can apply to be employed during the summer! Click here for the application.
Important Note: You may only submit ONE application for SYEP. Selection into the program is based on a lottery. Submission of an application does not guarantee that you will be offered a job.
If you have further questions about SYEP, contact Newark Youth One Stop at (973) 273-6064
The Food Desert Act Policy Needs Local Grassroots Oversight
By Jennifer Poroye
This year, New Jersey isn’t playing around with addressing food insecurity.
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Earlier this month, the state government enacted the Food Desert Act Policy. In conjunction with the Economic Recovery Act, this policy promises to provide up to $40 million a year in funding for the next six years to increase the public’s access to nutritious foods and develop new approaches to relieve food deserts.
Part of the Food Desert Act Policy also focuses on allocating funds to 50 communities across New Jersey that qualify as food deserts. The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, The Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Human Services. Government officials aim to develop supermarkets and grocery stores within these designated communities with the funding.
The Food Desert Act Policy is exactly what we need.
Read the rest of this article here.
Reporting Fellow Spotlight
Meet Shelly Strothers!
Shelly is a spoken word artist, educator, and DJ (Shell Spin on the 1s and 2s!). She believes unity and the collaborative efforts of the community are the only way that marginalized people will collectively liberate themselves.
Photo of Shelly Strothers
Click here to listen to Shelly's spoken word album, Incense in the Hood. Her storytelling project with the NNSC/Five Wards Media will celebrate Black joy (in all ways) across Newark. Stay tuned!
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Our founder, Brit is a spoonie. Mid-February after visiting the ER due to a flare-up and receiving a CT scan, it was determined she needed emergency surgery. Thank you to our Project Coordinator, Lenise Dazzel-Harris and Winter Alum & Program Facilitator, James “Jimmy” Frazier for holding down our cohort and the project overall.
This week we welcome Brit back to work!
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