The woman they call the godmother of Newark raised six kids on her own. Now Donna Jackson is trying to save other children’s lives. With the murder rate at its highest level in more than 20 years, she’s on an urgent mission.
Sidewalk memorials to murder victims are common sights in Newark. It is even more so this year, with the Newark murder rate hitting 110, according to the Essex County prosecutor. That is the highest number since 1990.
Jackson told me she is outraged. She volunteers as a community counselor and motivator. She monitors police radios on her spare phone, gathers and sends out alerts about crimes in progress, and offers help to grieving families with fellow volunteer Cassandra Dock. She believes it has gotten harder and harder for kids to escape the deadly gunfire.
Hundreds turned out to say goodbye to Reginald Terry, an 18-year-old college honors student and former high school football star, who was shot and killed shielding a young woman from random gunfire.
Minutes away on another street, the mother of murdered 15-year-old Kasson Morman, called for more police protection.