The dictionary defines diversity as: 1. The state or fact of being diverse; difference; unlikeness. 2. Variety; multiformity. 3. A point of difference. The goal of the Diversity group is to promote unity and fellowship among all ethnic, religious, and racial groups in order to achieve a better understanding of what we all share, where we have differences, and what we need to work toward to improve the lives of every community member.
BWNJ advocates for a strong, sustainable economy for all Americans; an economy that grows the middle class; an economy that creates good jobs at home; an economy that provides opportunities for advancement; an economy that has a fair tax system.
The education group works to support and improve New Jersey’s public schools. The group is part of the statewide Our Children/Our Schools Coalition working for adequate and equitable funding, school partnerships that include families and communities, the transparency of public funds, and policies that strengthen public education as a basic democratic institution. It also seeks to promote informed activism around state and federal education policy, school integration issues, and teaching and learning practices that support social justice.
The mission of the Elections Committee is to support and elect progressive candidates to federal, state, and local office. In 2008, BlueWaveNJ volunteers contacted over 30,000 voters through canvassing, phone banking, and community outreach for the election of President Obama. We have provided assistance to dozens of progressive candidates in NJ and nationally. We plan to be very active in 2012 in the effort to re-elect President Obama as well as supporting progressive candidates to defeat the Republican agenda.
Progressive change is not possible without meaningful electoral reform. We support a constitutional amendment that would strip corporations of the ability to donate unlimited funds to political campaigns and their rights to “speech” Corporations are not people with respect to elctions. The January 2010 US Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, allows unlimited corporate campaign contributions that make a mockery of US democracy and suppress the voice of the people. Another goal is for voters to take back control of our government and democracy from the corporations and lobbyists through the implementation of “clean elections,”—i.e., publicly financed campaigns. The group also advocates for changing New Jersey’s voting machines to include a voter-verifiable paper trail and legislation to stop “pay to play” in Essex County.
The Global Warming and Energy Working Group is committed to educating the public about climate change and supporting local and national policies that decrease greenhouse gas emissions.
There is a great battle raging over the science of global warming. On one side are the scientists who have, for the most part, come to the conclusion that the earth is warming due to human activities but continue to debate the nuances and the predicted consequences of future global warming. On the other side are those who benefit from the status quo or are ideologically opposed to the government interventions required to confront the issue. Corporations and politicians that reject the scientific evidence are powerful and have used their far-reaching influence to obfuscate the facts and confuse the public
The goals of this issue group are to retain affordable, quality health care for all, keep the public informed of health-care options in New Jersey, and protect and expand the Affordable Care Act signed into law by President Obama in March 2010 guaranteeing access to economically feasible health insurance for all Americans. Active since 2005, the health-care group has studied the pros and cons of national health care systems around the world and considered proposed reforms enacted in states around the country. During 2006, we developed and presented around the state a PowerPoint presentation accompanied by fact sheets to educate interested groups. Since 2008, BlueWaveNJ and its health-care group were an active part of the NJ Health Care coalition advocating for comprehensive health-care reform legislation.
BlueWaveNJ, in partnership with Garden State Equality, is actively working to further the campaign for marriage equality, especially as it makes its way through both the courts and the legislature. We will also assist in monitoring school districts and schools to ensure compliance with the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights, as LGBT students are about nine times more likely to be subject to bullying at school than other students.
With the development of the internet and the wide expansion of cable television, the media landscape has rapidly expanded and evolved over the last 20 years. The BlueWaveNJ Media Reform group serves to educate citizens about media issues and to bring pressure to bear on the government to ensure that an open, accurate and fair system for communication is maintained in this shifting landscape. The group has worked to maintain free and open access to the Internet, increase cable and broadcasting accountability, resist reductions in community service, and improve public awareness around issues of media consolidation and unfair or biased reporting.
The North Jersey chapter of Ceasefire New Jersey (CFNJ), now an issue group within BlueWaveNJ, supports commonsense legislation and initiatives at the state and national level to prevent gun violence and support gun responsibility. Over the past 25 years, CFNJ has taken a leadership role in passing and then preventing the repeal of New Jersey’s Assault Weapons Ban (still the strongest such law in the nation), and spearheading a broad coalition of over 50 groups in passing the first-in-the-nation Childproof Handgun Bill (mandating that all handguns sold in NJ be equipped with built-in technology that prevents them from being fired by anyone except the lawful owner).
Thanks to the efforts of proactive citizens and progressive groups like ours all over the country, the Bush administration’s plan to dismantle Social Security during Bush’s second term was defeated. Since then the Social Security group has turned its attention to Medicare benefits and health care. However with the recent budget fights, Social Security’s future remains in doubt. The fight continues!
Since 2006, BlueWaveNJ has sponsored an annual Women’s Film Festival in Montclair in an effort to reach out to the full spectrum of women in our community and to the men in their lives. The festivals were extremely successful and, as a result, BWNJ was asked to be a partner in the upcoming Montclair Film Festival scheduled for May 2-6 2012. To learn more about the Montclair Film Festival, please go to http://montclairnjfilmfestival.org/