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*Ras Baraka was born on this date in 1970. He is a Black educator, author, and politician.
A Newark, NJ. native, Baraka is the son of poet and activist Amiri Baraka and his wife, Amina. Baraka was educated in the Newark Public Schools and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Howard University in Washington, DC, and a Master of Arts in Education Supervision from St. Peter's University in Jersey City. Baraka ran his first campaign for mayor when he was 24 years old, in 1994. Newark Municipal Council Between 2002 and 2006, Baraka was a Newark Municipal Council member and, in 2002, was appointed deputy mayor and served in that position until 2005. In November 2005, Baraka was voted to complete the term vacated by the deceased Councilmember-at-Large Donald Kofi Tucker.
He was previously the principal of the city's Central High School. In May 2010, he defeated then-councilman Oscar James II in a highly contested election on a platform critical of Mayor Cory Booker. The election was documented on the Sundance reality television series Brick City. He took an indefinite leave of absence to run for the 2014 Newark mayoral election, which he ran against former Assistant State Attorney General Shavar Jeffries, which he won on May 13, 2014. Official results show that of 44,951 ballots cast, he received 24,358 to Jeffries' 20,593. He succeeded Luis A. Quintana after completing Cory Booker's term, who resigned after being elected to the United States Senate in October 2013.
Baraka was sworn in as the city's 40th major at ceremonies at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center on July 1, 2014, for a four-year term. Newark mayoral elections In the 2014 local elections, four municipal council candidates Baraka supported won their races, leading to the expectation that the elected body, in which he needs five votes on the nine-member council to get any proposal passed, will be cooperative with his agenda. Baraka appointed his brother, Amiri "Middy" Baraka, Jr., as his chief of staff. He has earned praise for improving Newark’s economic prospects during his tenure as mayor.
In November 2017, Baraka and his campaign treasurer were issued a 28-count complaint by the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, alleging they violated campaign finance rules in the 2014 mayoral election, mainly for failure to fully disclose the source of $396,000 in campaign donations in the expensive and tightly contested campaign. He won reelection in the 2018 mayoral race.
Baraka is the father of three daughters Amandla, Assata, and Raisa. In 2019, Baraka married political consultant Linda Jumah, sentenced to home confinement and probation for tax evasion 2018. In 2019, Jumah was accused of assaulting Baraka's teenage daughter in a domestic dispute at the mayor's home. Baraka's son Jua Nyamekye Imamu Kofi Baraka, was born in 2019.