State Senator Ronald L. Rice (D-28), chair of the Legislative Black Caucus and the most senior African American leader in the state of New Jersey, decried the absence of an African-American woman on the Democratic Party’s proposed legislative redistricting commission.
“We’re wrassling with the Trump mentality,” Rice told InsiderNJ. “We think change is going to come, but it’s going to take more. Black Lives Matter is a statement not just about blacks but folks.
“What New Jersey leadership doesn’t understand is the historic aspect of Kamala Harris becoming the country’s first African American and woman vice president,” added Rice. “We see this happening nationally, and yet with all the conversations that have occurred it just seems that New Jersey leadership doesn’t get it. Our votes are good but everything else is patronizing.”
Rice said black elected officials and civil rights leaders will need to get more intense engaged on the subject of reapportionment.
As it is, “I just have a problem with the way we do things,” the senator said, and how people want to do things. The Black and Latino need to step up efforts and need to address the fairness of this redistricting process. We need now to come together around how we’re going to monitor it, and too, next year is an election next year, and maybe this should be part of the election.”
Happy that Essex County Democratic Committee Chairman LeRoy Jones, at least, occupies a seat, Rice said this was the first he had heard the names on the commission and said he hadn’t heard of some of them.
“New Jersey gets good support from African Americans and Latino but we don’t get acknowledged for our deeds,” he said. “That’s not the party as a whole but the leadership in New Jersey.”