The following is an Open Letter to the People of New Jersey
An attack on one community is an attack on us all. My deepest condolences to those taken or injured or scared by the events which occurred in my hometown of Jersey City on Tuesday.
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said there was “no question” the shooting that took place on Tuesday was motivated by anti-Semitism. All across our country today, and as close as one mile from my home, we are witnessing a rise in violence which stems from bigotry, ignorance, and fear. Sustaining this violence is a lack of integration for which we all share at least some responsibility. Some have designed it that way, and others continue to accept it with little to no resistance. If America was originally designed as an experimental melting pot, then we need to find ways to start melting again.
Bernie Sanders’ promise of Housing for All is a plan to invest $40 billion dollars to build two million mixed-income housing units. It tackles the issues of exclusionary and restrictive zoning by encouraging integration by factors like race, income, and disability status.
Housing that is constructed and restructured to promote diversity has the potential to transform our nation into the melting pot it was intended to be. Public schools will begin to mirror the neighborhoods they are located in. Add to that educational policies for integrating students in school by academic ability, and we become the innovative architects of environments that are rich in culture, tolerance, and acceptance, and more important, places where students are likely to settle down in the future because they understand the value of diversity.
It is time to celebrate and embrace our differences. The late Senator Paul Wellstone once proclaimed that “We all do better when we all do better.” Today, Bernie Sanders is asking us if “we are willing to fight for a stranger?” Either way, the truth remains that we are stronger as a nation united by our differences.
John Flora (NJ-10)