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PrettyQueer.com | January 26, 2015

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In Conversation With Newark Mayor Cory A. Booker

In Conversation With Newark Mayor Cory A. Booker
Darnell Moore

“I believe that Newark should be a just community.”

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Mayor Cory A. Booker, one of the most popular politicos in the US. Our conversation focused on a topic that is often overshadowed, if not wholly ignored, within mainstream media outlets reporting on the Mayor’s tenure and issues of concern within the city of Newark, NJ

Newark has been cast into the national spotlight with its appearance in Sundance Channel’s documentary series, Brick City, and as the location where Mark Zuckerberg invested $100 million in educational reform from his Facebook fortune. Yet, there is much more to know about New Jersey’s largest city, especially as it relates to the many remarkable strides that have been made on behalf of the LGBTQ community in Newark.

But the problem of the media’s silence and lack of focus on queer activism within majority black and brown and working class spaces may also have something to do with the perpetuation and maintenance of the belief that such spaces are ostensibly more homophobic than some others. Indeed, it seems fair to argue that mainstream gay news outlets may not think activism actually occurs within working class spaces where queers of color live or is not important enough to cover than, say, marriage equality (which is no less important than LGBTQ youth homelessness, public safety concerns, and transphobia, yes?).

It is for this reason that Newark advocates have begun to highlight the great work happening in Newark. The social media campaign, of which this video is part, is aptly titled, We are Making Newark Better. And, what a perfect title to speak to the work of a community that has advocated for the city’s (and state’s) first municipal commission on LGBTQ concerns, the raising of the rainbow flag on the steps of its city hall during pride week, the launch of an archive project on queer Newark, a policy brief on the state of LGBTQ youth, and much more.

Mayor Booker has been a committed advocate of every initiative. Check out the video to hear why.

Comments

  1. bondsinseconds

    great interview. i was peripherally aware of cory booker and his radness, but a few weeks ago i saw him featured on the pbs series “finding your roots”, which in addition to talking about his own family history, explored his deep commitment to his community. finding out more about his work for lgbtq people makes me think he’s even cooler.

  2. spoilsport

    I don’t know, you guys. I accept that Booker may be pretty progressive on LG(BT?) issues, but he’s really not Good For the Queers, if we take it for granted that queerness usually goes with a general left/’progressive’ agenda- despite the fact that he has some really good stances on some issues he’s also really seriously pro-vouchers, he gets a lot of funding from Bain Capital, cozy with Gov. Christie, has speaking engagements funded by the Heritage Foundation, has made public statements in favor of private equity, is frequently defended by right-wing writers/bloggers, etc.

    Basically, he’s enough of a problematic figure that it feels kind of strange to see really blatant boosterism for him on a site that’s usually more critical of mainstream established political figures, y’know?

    I don’t want to trigger the spam filter, so in addition to the following link, I recommend looking up the ThinkProgress or New Republic articles, and if you have institutional access, Carlos Decena’s article in Transforming Anthropology looks relevant to Booker’s legacy re: renewal-as-gentrification.

    http://blackagendareport.com/content/fruit-poisoned-tree-hard-rights-plan-capture-newark-nj

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