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We Must Fight

Posted by on in Leadership
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I attended a vigil on Sunday night to honor. A vigil marred by two tragedies - the hatred and violence occurring in Charlottesville, and a triple shooting that resulted in the death of a 25-year-old young man in Cumberland County. The turnout, the raw passion of the stories shared, and our community response on that night was humbling and inspiring. It is an event that I will remember. I hope that it helps to serve as a turning point in our area and for our community. There is a lot of work to do in the fight against racism, hatred, and injustice, but I believe that we are ready for the fight.

Fight. Now that’s a funny word. Fight may have a violent connotation. Some would like to refrain from using it. Some feel that it conflicts with peace and love. I wholeheartedly disagree.

Merriam-Webster, in defining the word “fight,” lists seven explanations. Only 2 of the seven definitions listed are violent. The majority of definitions revolve around putting forth a determined effort, struggling, enduring.Those interpretations describe struggles we face today, those for equality, equity, and justice.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi - they fought. Inspired by Gandhi’s nonviolent resistance in the Salt March, Dr. King utilized the same nonviolent tactics to fight during the Civil Rights Movement. They both looked violence in the face, and they fought. They did not respond violence with violence; they approached it with truth, conviction, and passion. We need to do the same today, and we should expect the same from our elected leaders.

Many politicians shy away from a “fight.” Maybe they are afraid to take a firm stance. Maybe they do not want to acknowledge that some fights, like those of the Civil Rights Movement, still rage in our country. 

We need more. We need true patriotic people who know that America is not a place for hatred. The land of the free, where all are created equal, is better than this. We must be better than this. We do not need politicians showing up to events to hand out business cards, take pictures with flags, and send “thoughts and prayers.” We need leaders who stand in the streets, hear our concerns and amplify them. We need leaders who actively work to educate our youth (#CharlottesvilleCurriculum) about what America is and what it is not. We need leaders who will attack racism and hatred. We need leaders who fight.

In truth, this fight will not be easy. This fight will require everyone to examine truths and realities and hardships of our own lives and those of others.

See, that’s the thing about “fight.” Fight may be non-violent, but it cannot mean disengaged. Fight cannot mean “we start tomorrow” or “let’s see how things play out.” A fight is an active struggle. Our country is in crisis, and we are in that struggle now. We need to fight for America.

We can no longer be bystanders. We have to be active. We have to show that we are not afraid. We have to teach and support our youth and our community. We must lead with love, compassion, and courage. We must put our future first. We must fight.

And we will.

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Born and raised in Cumberland County, New Jersey, Sean not only has remained, but has continued to grow with his community. He now resides in the same county with his wife and their two young sons. Sean currently serves as an administrator at Camden’s Promise Charter School, where he focuses on the professional development of teachers and building various social-emotional skills with students. Graduating from Rutgers University with an undergraduate degree in Communication as well as a graduate degree from the University of Scranton in Educational Administration helped open the doors to what has now become nearly a decade long career in education.


 


 


 


As a result of connecting with people everyday of all ages, ethnicities, cultures and beliefs, Sean has learned how to listen and meet the individualized needs of different groups of people. In order to help organize parents and educators to come together in academic spaces, it has required him to search for innovative, functional, and inclusive ways to solve problems.


 


 


 


Despite Sean's childhood aspirations of one day becoming an attorney, he has since become an unwavering advocate for positive youth development and education. Growing up, Sean experienced difficulty financially and emotionally in an unstable household while also battling a sometimes crippling learning disability (ADHD). School became both a place of refuge and a source of trouble for Sean. If not for certain teachers and school faculty encouraging him as a young person, he would not have pursued higher education and would not have been able to impact countless students the way he does today.


 


 


 


Throughout his career as an educator in New Jersey, Sean has based every decision solely on what is best for youth and their futures. He has worked to create new, effective programs as well as supports for students and parents addressing social issues. Sean has demonstrated his student-first approach by never being afraid to privately and publicly question decisions that impact teachers, students, and the educational process. As a result, he has been able to create strong, lasting relationships across our state with the students, families, and communities that he has served.


 


 


 


As a leader in education, Sean has rooted his success in incorporating three major values that he applies to every facet of his life: honesty, integrity, and transparency. All great leaders exhibit honesty regardless of how difficult a situation may be. In these times, we need someone who will honor the trust of their constituents, despite possible backlash. Sean has displayed his commitment to integrity by maintaining a strong moral basis in all decisions, never being swayed by personal gain, and combating corruption wherever it exists. Transparency is also something that is not frequently witnessed in politics. Without it, it is easy for elected officials to lose touch with the people they serve. Having worked in education, Sean understands the power of collective responsibility while encouraging collaboration and the inclusion of diverse opinions to impact change. His unique background matched with his life experiences have allowed him to truly understand the struggles and needs of so many American people.


 


 


 


As the next United States Congressman from the state of New Jersey, Sean promises to apply the most effective policies to positively influence the collective growth of all New Jerseyans and Americans. He intends to only put the best interests of his constituents, state, and country first, regardless of how unpopular that may make him within the political machine. This is how we give politics, power, and our country back to the people. This is how we place our future first.

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Guest Thursday, 23 November 2017