LETTER: Former Jersey City BOE Trustee Okpokwasili endorses Jersey City United

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In a letter to the editor, former Jersey City Board of Education Trustee Bertram Okpokwasili is endorsing Jersey City United for the fast approaching November 8 election. Bertram Okpokwasili

Dear editor,

Please consider voting for Jersey City United Candidates (5J, 8J,10J) on November 8, 2016.

As a former board member, and a long-time resident of Jersey City and a parent of 3 children who attend elementary school, I believe the best choice of candidates for the Board of Education are the
candidates from the Jersey City United Slate: Luis Felipe Fernandez(5J), Asmaa Abdalla (8J), and Matthew Schapiro (10J).

This diverse and independent set of candidates from Jersey City United for the Board of Education believe foremost that our schools must be safe.

They believe that our schools must reflect our diverse communities, and they must deliver a world-class education to every child in every school from every neighborhood.

Luis Felipe Fernandez, a Pastor and Greenville resident whose work supports families in need, Asmaa Abdalla, a science major, and volunteer at a hospital and an impressive young voice who is also a product of Jersey City schools, and Matthew Schapiro, an education activist, stand for community first.

Jersey City United is the only slate I know to publicly support the right of the parents, community
and teachers at PS#34 to name their school after President Obama.

They support the important work of teachers, administrators and unions.

Jersey City United goals include implementing “safe routes” to schools so that no parent need worry that their child might be harmed during their trip to or from school, to end out of school suspensions for elementary students which harm the students who most need help, and to expand restorative justice programs district wide—a policy embraced by the American Federation of Teachers ( AFT) and National Education Association (NEA).

Jersey City needs more Board of Education members with vision and a strong commitment to improving our children’s education. Their independence frees them from the ethical conflicts or ingrained biases of some of the other candidates and allows them to vote on policy improvements from day one.

Parents can trust that Jersey City United will put forth children’s needs before the interests of other parties. We can make this a reality by VOTING 5J, 8J, and 10J for the Jersey City United for Board of Education candidates Luis Felipe Fernandez, Asmaa Abdalla, and Matthew Schapiro on November 8th.

Bertram Okpokwasili

Former Jersey City Board of Education trustee