Blog - NJ7 Citizens for Change

Suburban While Black

The George Floyd killing stirs up all kinds of emotions. Why does this keep happening? Will it come to my door? What type of world have I brought my kids into? I am a married, black man living in a fairly affluent suburban community in New Jersey. My wife happens to be white. Our town is diverse while still being segregated. I am close friends with many police officers and hold them in high regard. However, living in this community and coaching baseball does not inoculate me from the realities of my existence.
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From One Karen to Another

Yes, my name really is Karen. And it’s not a surprise: I am white and middle aged. I grew up in suburban, segregated New Jersey (a state that likes to pretend it’s not segregated, when it’s one of the most). I didn’t learn about race and racism in K-12. I didn’t learn that race is a social construct, much less that whiteness is an invention. I didn’t learn that I, as a white person, was benefitting from advantages that I did not earn but rather were built into our systems. I didn’t learn any of that because it was not taught.
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“Ain’t Nothing Changed but the Weather”

As it relates to America’s racial progress, a black elder recently said to me, "Ain't nothing changed but the weather." And then America saw the heartbreaking footage of the brutal murder of Ahmaud Arbery, a young black man who was out for a jog in Brunswick, Georgia. Arbery was murdered in February of 2020. There was a police cover up, but upon the release of the footage, murder charges were subsequently filed against the three vigilantes – two months later. The charges were not filed because the “authorities” saw the footage, the charges were filed because the public saw the footage and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was forced to intervene.
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Which Tom Will Protect Your Healthcare?

Which NJ07 Congressional candidate, Tom Malinowski or Tom Kean Jr., will defend affordable healthcare? Let's look at their voting records and find out. 
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We Have a Fight on Our Hands - We Need Your Help

THEY HAVE SET THEIR SIGHTS ON CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 7- CAN YOU HELP? The Trump administration's inept response to the COVID-19 pandemic has put us in a state of daily shock and horror.  It saddens and angers us in equal measure. Surely the rest of the country sees the same ineptitude, right? Surely this will lead to an unprecedented blue tide in November, right?    Not so fast. While Trump may be lagging in the polls, the situation downballot is not so clear cut. A recent Monmouth University poll said this about the situation in New Jersey:   "However, voters are almost evenly divided between the Republican (46%) and Democratic (45%) candidates in the five most competitive districts (i.e., CDs 2, 3, 5, 7, 11).  This time two years ago, Democrats held an aggregate 7-point edge in these districts (49% to 42%). In November 2018, Democrats ended up winning the cumulative safe seat vote in New Jersey by 33 points (66% to 33%) and the competitive seats by 9 points (54% to 45%).   'Democratic incumbents in New Jersey’s ‘blue wave’ districts face a tough challenge heading into November. The terrain does not look quite as friendly as it did two years ago even with a strong performance by their party at the top of the ticket this year,” said Murray.'"   SOURCE:  https://www.monmouth.edu/polling-institute/reports/monmouthpoll_nj_042320/  
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American Carnage

This is what “America First” looks like today.   •​Every 50 seconds in May an American has died of Covid-19 •​We have 5% of the world’s population, and almost 30% of Covid-19 cases. •​With almost 80,000 deaths, we lead the world in Covid-19 mortality. •​The death rate from Covid-19 in the US is 232/million population. The global average is 34. •​We were adjudged the best country for pandemic preparedness in October 2019. We have gone from that to having the worst outcomes of any nation.  We cannot flatten the curve.  Other hard hit countries - France, Italy, Germany, Spain -  have seen a steady reduction in new cases since the peak of infection (see the graphic). That has a allowed a carefully calibrated relaxation of controls. Indeed, in Germany, Angela Merkel said the country was now in a position to reopen most aspects of its economy and society. “We can afford a little audacity,” she said.  Here? Take the New York Metropolitan area out of the numbers, and the case load in the rest of the country is still rising, but reopening is being urged on the States by the President.  Trump was, and is, unprepared to do the hard work necessary to bring the case burden down, and generate a reopening plan that combines both economic and social wellbeing. Countries that have successfully contained the virus moved early, made aggressive use of lockdowns, instituted massive track-and trace programs, restricted travel inside the country, and made the wearing of face masks a cornerstone of public policy. Their leaders took decisive actions, followed the science, and projected empathy and a sense of shared sacrifice. Leaders like Angela Merkel, Giuseppe Conte, Francois Macron, Benjamin Netanyahu - and, indeed, Andrew Cuomo - all have seen major jumps in public approval in recognition of their handling of the crisis.  Not President Trump.  It is hard not to read into the President’s apparent indifference to the rising death toll a cruel calculation. The old, blacks, Latinos, those on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder, can be sacrificed to Make America Great Again. Again.  The man who promised an end to “American carnage” has turned metaphor into reality.
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The Case for Impeachment

  Impeachment is on the mind of every engaged American. And thoughts about it are naturally issuing from the keyboards of every journalist and pundit, now that Bob Mueller's report has seen the light of day.  Like many, I have read at least a dozen articles and opinion pieces this past week-end about the topic.  I have also tried to sit quietly and think about what the decision whether or not to impeach will mean for the country, for our values, for the rule of law, and for the politics of the 2020 Election. To the extent that Democrats are hesitating — I won’t call it hand-wringing — about whether to impeach Donald Trump, Bill Clinton is primarily to blame. More precisely: If the Clinton impeachment had never happened, I am thoroughly convinced that Articles of Impeachment would certainly already have been drafted against Trump and, if they had not been introduced shortly after the Democrats had retaken the House, they would be forthcoming this week, at the very latest.
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Congressman Malinowski-Making His Constituents a Priority

  “He stood up to dictators; he will stand up for us.”  At last, NJ07 has a representative who is both standing up to Donald Trump, and his Republican enablers, and aggressively pursuing the needs of our constituents.  Tom Malinowski is using his two House committee assignments - Foreign Affairs, and Transportation and Infrastructure - asplatforms to address many of the issues that were neglected under the previous incumbent.  Let’s start with infrastructure. The very first Bill that Malinowski introduced was an Act that would allow states to count federal transportation loans towards their share of jointly funded large-scale projects like Gateway. And, mercifully, the bipartisan spending bill that averted a second government shutdown contained $650 million in funding that could be used for Gateway projects.  It is a start on something that represents a true emergency rather than the faux emergency at the southern border (Malinowski spoke out about that too. A tunnel failure and its impact on one fifth of the national economy would plunge us into instant recession.  A second topic close to the heart of many constituents is gun safety.  Tom supported the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, the first significant gun control bill to clear the chamber in a quarter of a century.  The Senate and the White House will stonewall on this, but at last we have a Congressman who is offering more than “thoughts and prayers.”  On Foreign Affairs, Tom has aggressively confronted the supine posturing and amoral equivocation of the Trump administration. When Trump shrugged off the torture of Otto Warmbier, Malinowski tweeted he would introduce a bipartisan resolution affirming that Congress holds Kim Jong Un responsible. Tom spoke out as we learned more of the overlay of Trump’s pro-Russia statements during the campaign with his business interests in a Trump Tower in Moscow. And while Trump equivocated, Tom called for sanctions on Mohammed bin Salmanfor ordering the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.  What a difference a year makes.  We have gone from a spineless Banana Republican to a to full throated, challenging Democrat looking after our interests. He deserves our equally full throated support.
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Colorism - You’re pretty for a dark girl. (Part 2)

[Click here to read Part 1] Messages from Media We cannot underestimate the tremendous power of advertising and media to influence our perceptions and standards of beauty, particularly images in magazines, music videos, TV shows, and movies. Not only is there power in advertising and media, there is also great thought given by people who study how to get consumers to respond to an image. Research has shown over time and from the testimonies of people I’ve worked with, most of the images seen on television hold lighter skinned people in higher esteem than darker skinned people. Because of this messaging, many people hold lighter skinned people in high esteem and aspire to be lighter. This aspiration manifests itself in skin bleaching. Globally, one of the most popular products is skin-bleaching cream. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on skin bleaching products every year all across the world because of the idea that lighter skin is to be preferred over darker skin.
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President’s Day - In the Year of Unprecedented Deception

This week we celebrate President’s Day. Let’s reflect upon how far we have fallen from the ideals of Washington and Lincoln in the person of the present incumbent of the White House.  George Washington famously could not tell a lie. Donald Trump cannot tell the truth.  He is a reflexive liar. In 2018, “a year of unprecedented deception,” Mr. Trump averaged 15 false claims a day. The border imbroglio provides a perfect example.  The President chose El Paso to hold a rally trumpeting the success of a wall in reducing violent crime in that city, an assertion vigorously contradicted by locals, including the Republican mayor, who pointed out that the county's violent crime rate dropped 62 percent from 1993 to 2007, and that a fence wasn't installed until 2008. The Presidential response?  "I don’t care if a mayor is a Republican or a Democrat, they’re full of crap when they say it hasn’t made a big difference."   Which brings us to Abraham Lincoln. He brought into his Cabinet every strain of thought opposed to his own - his Team of Rivals. President Trump cannot even keep together a team of self-serving sycophants. Personal loyalty is valued over loyalty to the Office, dissent is not tolerated, simpering expressions of adulation are expected. Little wonder that the Cabinet and his government are riddled with vacancies. There is no honor to be gained by serving in this administration.  Lincoln was probably the finest writer to ever hold the office of president. The Gettysburg address and his Inaugural addresses contain the highest expressions of American ideals.  But President Trump does not summon “the better angels of our nature”, nor with “malice towards none” seek to “bind the nation’s wounds.”  Those he disagrees with are “full of crap.” His message is one of division, hatred and mistrust.  The greatest service we can do to the legacy of Washington and Lincoln is to work to make sure Trump is a one term President.  In that way, we can help ensure that “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
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