By Wilfredo “Wil” Rojas, M.Ed. | AC JosepH Media Guest Blogger

It was with great dismay — but perhaps no great surprise — that I read Michelle Burnett’s latest article in The Press of Atlantic City on Craig Callaway’s, a savvy political operative, defection to Jeff Van Drew’s Congressional campaign. The article cites reports filed with the Federal Election Commission that Callaway’s G.O.Y.V. company has been paid $110,000 so far by the Van Drew campaign.

You may remember that Mr. Callaway worked on the Amy Kennedy Campaign in the primary election, and Kennedy was coitized by the Democratic Party endorsed candidate Brigid Harrison, who used Calloway’s criminal prosecution related to his political dealings, against her.

Fast-forward to days before the November 3rd Congressional Election in NJ 2nd Congressional District between Democratic candidate Amy Kennedy and Democrat-turned-Republican, an undying supporter of presidential Republican candidate Donald Trump, voters see a clear difference in voter approach, political philosophy and personalities, which separate two South Jersey candidates. This will cause voters to decide who they feel more comfortable with to represent them in the United States Congress if you haven’t voted yet. 

Paid for by Thelma Witherspoon 2020.

Amy Kennedy’s primary campaign was not a traditional one. For this reason, she changed the rules of the game and carried out an inclusive campaign. Most African American and Latino voters I’ve had the opportunity to speak with mention that Kennedy focused her attention on the diverse populations that reside in the 2nd Congressional District; something that Jeff Van Drew in all his years in office has forgotten to do. Due to her natural respect and liking for all people — regardless of financial status, color, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, or political affiliation — she has earned the respect of her colleagues at the school she taught at, the nonprofit she runs, and of the diverse population of the counties that encompassed the 2nd Congressional District. 

Amy Kennedy distinguishes herself from many other politicians by visiting minority communities and sitting down to listen to them. Kennedy feels comfortable with working people because she is one of them, and with simple language, she transmits the message of the value of their votes. In fact, according to my conversations with her, she is down-to-earth and enjoys campaigning throughout the district and meeting and listening to issues that concern middle class and poor people of all backgrounds. 

Her modest efforts to teach the traditionally disenfranchised voters whose ability to vote is suppressed by empty promises and money has been very innovative and inspiring. Despite the fact that people of color have a low level of participation in the democratic process of voting, Amy is teaching them how important it is to vote and how voting gives them the power to effectuate positive changes in the life of their community, and the right to access their elected officials and hold them accountable.   

Amy Kennedy is attacking the forces trying to buy votes through a well-organized campaign focused on respecting the constitutional right to vote, without interference by special interest groups more interested in personal fortunes than the dignity and equal treatment of all Americans. 

The forces of money, all the power of the great corporate interests, and all the usual political tricks, should be vehemently opposed by realizing the highest voter participation rate in the history of the 2nd Congressional District. Politicians who — for a few dollars or for gifts — asked for your votes in exchange and after the elections forgot about you and your community are unacceptable, Black and Brown people!

Bio: Wilfredo “Wil” Rojas is an award-winning columnist, veteran civil rights activist and former officer with the Gloucester County NAACP. He is the cofounder and retired director of Philadelphia Prison System’s Office of Community Justice and Outreach.

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