Honestly, I don’t know enough about Newark politics to make a judgment call about how well Cory Booker governs. I do have growing questions about how some important city matters are being handled, though. As the Green Drinks Newark founding host, people bring issues and questions to my attention and I feel a moral obligation to look into them. This 21 May article by Josh Benson purports to addresses some of the underlying political reasons things happen the way they do in Newark. Josh quotes State Senator Ronald Rice as saying, “… if people don’t understand it now by … Cory traveling throughout the country, the people he meets with, people he supports and all the stuff happening in Newark with hedge funds and investors, if they don’t understand he’s completely beholden to them, there’s something wrong with them.”
Dear G-d, this is such a powerful statement on the chilling effects of racism. Whether we choose to believe it or not, each of us is truly a product of the messages disseminated through our society and popular culture. That’s why it’s so important to expose ourselves to the least possible propaganda: avoid malls and shopping centers, watch less TV, do not frequent commercial websites. Have more f2f conversations with people. Walk and bike more. Get involved with your communities.
… I hadn’t realized it but I was crying. I must have been crying as he spoke to me. I thought about what it was that was making me so sad and I guess it was the recognition that I cannot escape the effects of our culture’s demonization of young black boys. I, who spend so much of my time in the presence of these young men, have internalized racism. Of course, I know this intellectually but it is something quite different to be called out on one’s internalized oppression and to have to face the fact that I am just like everyone else in America: I am afraid of the “criminalblackman” (a term that Kathryn Russell has coined). The “criminalblackman” mindset is pervasive and entrenched. The idea of young black men as being “problems” is a historical fact that has infected every institution in the country as well as infiltrated individual hearts and minds.”
The Integrated Justice Alliance (IJA) requests the help of New Jersey’s social justice community to assist in, “righting a wrong in New Jersey commonly referred to as Prison Based Gerrymandering (PBG)”. This practice is outlawed in several states and New Jersey State Sen. Sandra Cunningham (D) has sponsored Senate Bill S-1055 to make this unethical practice illegal in our state too.
S-1055 requires incarcerated individuals to be counted at their residential address for legislative redistricting purposes. The current practice of PBG permits the communities that house prisons to claim inmates as residents of their town. This allows those municipalities to lay claim to funds which might otherwise flow into inmates’ home communities and benefit their families. It also skews the fundamental democratic principle of one man, one vote, on which our country’s political system is based – as New Jersey prison inmates are not allowed to vote during the term of their incarceration.
Hosts on a radio show this morning were discussing Trayvon Martin’s murder. A caller surprised everyone by saying that Trayvon’s death is a great tragedy, but it’s also tragic, “when we kill each other and no one ever talks about it.” The hosts acknowledged the truth of that statement and honored it by agreeing that there’s way too much acceptance in society today of urban violence whereas the “sexier” crimes that become high-profile stories grab maybe too much media attention.