Across the Aisle


Across the Aisle

Special Thanks to @CoryBooker & @SenRandPaul AND to Marie Gottschalk and AND to Robin Garrett AND SEUNG MIN KIM 

At the Chester County Democratic Committee meeting I just attended, I loitered outside like a punk against the wall of a Denver pot house for the arrival of Pennsylvania’s potential next governor. I was jockeying for a photo of the two of us together to be posted to the Growing Examples website as an endorsement, and to increase legitimacy of the organization as we head into our Fall fundraiser. Calculated, I know, but also the sign of forward thinking and commitment to the organization’s success.

The Democratic PA Senator who was hosting the event was an old family friend; my ninety year old grandmother, Lily, has been a longtime supporter of the sixth term senator. A staff member of his recognized me and called me by name. I sort of recognized her and asked would I be able to get a photo with tonight’s guest. She said, “we’ll see,” without smiling.

Two other office aides exited the township building as a black SUV arrived. Out came the candidate and as he approached the building I stepped to him, asking for a photo together. A campaign staff member introduced himself, handed me his card, Howard Starr, it read, and grasped the outstretched camera app. Stepping into the lobby, we posed for a shot, but were interrupted and instructed by Starr that we were backlit and we should shift to have the light on our faces. Good Job, Starr! And so I got the pic. It’s now just waiting for the opportune time to drop.

It was in Grad school that I was introduced to Marie Gottschalk’s “The Prison and the Gallows – The Politics of Mass Incarceration in the United States.” And, it was just after school that I began raising awareness of Restorative Justice in my own hometown. Here is where I intercepted a professor from West Chester University. She had been my own Women’s Studies prof when I attended undergrad there in the nineties. She told me about a PA State Representative in our town who was open to meeting all his constituents, R or D, and suggested that I approach him with my Re-entry Program idea. Way to Go, Professor!

I did do that, made a call, spoke with an Aide, set up a meeting, and waited patiently that first day for coffee and for my audience with the Rep. When we did meet, he was excited to hear about the idea, agreed that it reaches across political party lines and promised to continue our conversations moving forward. We did. Awesome! Now, he sits as an advisory member on the Growing Examples board.

New Jersey State Senator, Cory Booker is also preaching awareness of the positive influence of common ground. He and Rand Paul, who’d thunk it. Thank you common sense. 

#commonground #commonsense #restorative #practices #justice #partylines #growingexamples 

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