If you visit the new Hahne’s building you will see the walls of the atrium adorned with 100 Newarkers as part of the 100 People of Newark. Each photo is accompanied with a caption that provides a bit of insight into the participant’s personal story. The Newark Project was sponsored by the PSE&G Foundation for the city’s 350th Anniversary and is part of a global project.
This project was designed for the 350th Anniversary of Newark as a celebration of the diversity, tenacity, creativity and spirit of the city at this exciting time in its growth. Viewers have an opportunity to glance into the lives of some of the most dedicated, community-driven people that make up the heart of the city. From the firefighters, urban farmers and educators to entrepreneurs, street vendors, and, the mayor himself, the city is full of people who strive to cultivate the best in Newark every day. The 100 People Organization hopes that non-Newarkers have an opportunity to “meet” the 100 People and appreciate the beauty and richness of Newark’s residents, and that Newarkers feel proud of the place they call home and their extraordinary neighbors.
The 100 People Foundation is a global education non-profit, founded by photographer and filmmaker Carolyn Jones (pictured above). She was first introduced to the concept of looking at the world as 100 people when a friend and colleague forwarded an email with statistics created by scientist Donella Meadows more than two decades ago. The statistics help simplify complex data about the world population. For instance, if the world were 100 people, there would be 50 men and 50 women. 60 people would live in Asia. 86 would be able to read and write. 7 would have a college degree.
As a photographer and filmmaker, Carolyn instinctively wanted to see the 100 people that represented these numbers. So she created the 100 People: A World Portrait project, which asks students around the world to nominate the people they most admire in their local community, and to upload stories and photos of their nominees to our website. There are thousands of schools in over 90 countries participating, and ultimately they will select the official 100 people from among the students’ nominees.
So what are the demographics for 100 People of Newark?
The 100 People of Newark was started by a call for people to nominate members of their community that they most admire, and to tell why they were deserving. The organization sought out Newarkers with inspiring stories who are doing great things, big or small, for Newark. They started the selection process by choosing the most powerful stories, then looked at the demographic data of the selected nominees to make sure they were accurately representing the city by age, gender, ethnic background and ward of residence.
We asked 100 People Organizers what their favorite stories were:
There were so many inspiring people that it’s hard to pick favorites, but to give a few examples: we were floored when we met an amazing woman named Debi Hall-Dean who is dedicated to helping our “Neighbors With No Address.” She gathers the community to help her serve over 3,500 meals at Thanksgiving and she is converting space above a local church into a “Warming Hope Station” for cold winter nights. Another powerful story was that of Sharif Amenhotep, who was caught up in joy riding stolen cars as an adolescent but after a fatal car crash and an incarceration, he dedicated his life to anti-violence advocacy. He spends his time out in the community supporting people after tragedies in an effort to heal communities exposed to violence. His own daughter and fellow nominee, Sanaa Amenhotep, has followed in his footsteps and led a protest when some Newark schools were at risk of being shut down.
The 100 People of Newark project will also be featured on www.100people.org/Newark, where visitors can view not only the photo portraits but also video interviews with the 100 people. The website gallery and videos will be launched soon— stay tuned for updates.