I was surprised to read Senator Tom Kean Jr.’s recent Op-Ed “A Pivotal Moment For Our Community” stating his support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Being an advocate means more than just saying the words, and throughout his nearly 20 years in Trenton, Kean has shown he is anything but on civil rights.
In 2002, Kean voted against banning racial profiling and establishing an independent prosecutor to investigate civil rights cases against state police. He voted against quarterly studies to prevent racial profiling in state police traffic stops. He voted against the New Jersey Civil Rights Act in 2004, and couldn’t even be bothered to show up when it was on the floor two years earlier. Kean even opposes decriminalization and legalization of marijuana, which is a major civil rights issue and will be on the ballot with him this November. That disastrous record speaks far louder than the op-ed he wrote last week.
I recently attended the same Westfield Black Lives Matter rally in Mindowaskin Park. I was so thrilled to hear our Congressman, Tom Malinowski, not only say the words “Black Lives Matter” but also share the specific actions he will advocate for as a co-sponsor of the Justice in Policing Act, including limiting the transfer of military-grade equipment to state and local law enforcement and banning the use of choke holds and no-knock warrants.
In this moment, I encourage Senator Kean and all NJ residents to not only affirm that Black Lives Matter but then begin the important work of being better allies to our Black neighbors and building a more equitable New Jersey.
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