Newark activist, Green Party candidate discuss Coronavirus crisis

A Newark community activist and a Green Party politician tackled tough questions surrounding the city’s ongoing drinking-water crisis and the coronavirus pandemic in a late-March discussion. Newark Patch reported on the conversation between Newark Water Coalition co-founder Anthony Díaz and New Jersey Green Party U.S. Senate candidate Madelyn Hoffman.

Newark, New Jersey – April 18, 2019: Anthony Diaz at a Newark Water Coalition community meeting in Newark, New Jersey.
(Demetrius Freeman for NRDC)


One question Díaz posed centered around why officials declared a state of emergency so quickly for COVID-19, but shows no such urgency for still-tainted drinking water in the City of Newark.

A little background from May 2019, from the Natural Resources Defense Council:

By the time government officials of Newark, N.J., agreed to distribute water filters to some of its residents, they’d been drinking lead-laden tap water for at least 21 months. By the time the city began to acknowledge the problem, it was facing a federal lawsuit and multiple notices for violating the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Madelyn Hoffman of the Green Party is running in 2020 to represent New Jersey in the U.S. Senate.

More on the March 2020 discussion between Hoffman and Díaz, from Newark Patch:

“I’ve received reports of police circling around neighborhoods… housing complexes,” Díaz said. “It doesn’t seem like a health issue, it seems like a military quarantine.”

Díaz also said that work to replace thousands of lead service pipes as part of the city’s ongoing lead water crisis isn’t over yet, and the coronavirus is impacting the effort to keep residents safe in the meanwhile. …

Hoffman said that expanded Medicare for all – which she supports as part of her campaign platform – could have helped to create a “far wider and more inclusive social safety net” during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“The crisis is really showing some of the problems that need to be addressed in this country,” she declared.

Read the full story.