• Mercado, Robert
  • College/Year: RC '93; GSN '05; GSNB 2012
  • Links to Oral History Sessions: Mercado, Robert (November 19, 2021)


Robert Mercado, MSW, MPA, was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey. His parents migrated from Puerto Rico and settled in Newark. He grew up in a large family in the North Ward and attended Newark Public Schools. Following his brother, he went to Rutgers College, where he pledged Lambda Theta Phi, Latin Fraternity, Inc. and lived in Latin Images. He was in the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) program. He majored in sociology and Puerto Rican and Caribbean Studies. During his undergraduate years, he worked at La Casa de Don Pedro Community Center in Newark. In 1997, he began working for the Juvenile Justice Commission, Office of Juvenile Parole and Transitional Services, and currently serves as a Reginal Supervisor. He has been a member of the North Ward Democratic Committee and was elected to his first term as District One Commissioner in November 2017 and re-elected in 2020. In the interview, he describes his upbringing in the North Ward, demographic changes in Newark, student life at Rutgers College, influential EOF personnel, non-profit work, graduate studies at Rutgers, career in social work and juvenile justice, and political involvement. This oral history interview was conducted as a part of the Latino New Jersey History Project, directed by Dr. Lilia Fernandez.