Monthly Archives: December 2015

Donald Trump: Unfit for America

Recently I have been hearing many of my friends, the media, and other Americans voice their support for real estate mogul and Republican Presidential Candidate, Donald Trump. Due to the overwhelming amount of support he seems to have I have decided to write a series of posts explaining why Donald Trump is not a good contender for President of the United States starting with Immigration. The purpose of my posts are not to insult, instead it is a way for me to get my thoughts out and meant to educate, stimulate discussion, promote critical thinking, and increase voter awareness. And who knows…maybe, just maybe you might change your mind.

When he first announced his candidacy for president on June 15th I was interested to see where this once TV host with his infamous “You’re fired” catch-phrase would go with his political campaign and race for the White House. Instead of making a “good” argument (or any for that manner) to be the next commander in chief Trump has proved himself to be unfit for the presidency, sexist, racist, xenophobic, ignorant and a danger to democracy. He has certainly given myself and America countless of reasons as to why he should not be President of the United States nor be taken seriously as a candidate yet he has been sensationalized by the media and American Voters are buying into it (If you happen to be one of Trump’s supporters I would like you to think about the top three reasons why Trump is your ideal candidate and send them to me… I am genuinely curious). This country was built upon the principals of freedom and happiness where people could escape tyranny and unjust persecution from their countries to live in peace and prosper in the great nation of the west. How quickly have we forgotten that all Americans are Immigrants and had it not been for someone in your family you might not be here.

Trump on Immigration

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” – Donald Trump

On June 16th Donald Trump included these lines in his announcement for presidential candidacy and has continued to make racist, uneducated, and disrespectful comments. The thought of having a leader that promotes bigotry, strips people of their human rights, and has no interest in mutually beneficial diplomatic resolutions is chilling. Trump has accused immigrants of being rapists, stealing jobs, proposed the construction of a wall between the United States & Mexico, and advocated for the complete denial of Syrian Refugees into the country. For many illegal immigrants this means finding a job, or any job for that matter, that might provide them with some money to sustain themselves and their families. Many of the jobs taken by illegal immigrants are low-paying, non-benefit, and are sometimes dangerous jobs that include long hours of physical labor in harsh environments (many jobs that Americans would not take unless they were compensated much more than that). The complaint given by many Americans are that Illegal Immigrants are taking “our” jobs and hindering our economy. A little bit of independent research pointed me in the direction of  studies conducted by various institutions that indicated that this is not entirely accurate. Some of the studies suggest that the illegal immigrant population has allowed for documented workers (American Citizens) specialize in other jobs that pay more.

Further research conducted by the Congressional Research Service found that the vast majority of unauthorized Immigrants are not under Trump’s category of “Aggravated felons” (Figure 1) nor do they make up a large percentage of the inmate population in our country’s jails and prisons. (Figure 2). This is not to discard the issue that there is a problem with cartel violence, drug trafficking, keeping records of illegal immigrants, and the potential for terrorists to slip past. We cannot allow these problems to instill fear in us and change the way that we live. We must continue to strive towards the progression of society, human rights, and our country.


Criminal and Unauthorized Aliens

Figure 1



Figure 2.

“Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” Donald Trump

The Syrian Refugee Crisis is a dire problem that has been beckoning for the global community to come together and create a resolution to provide asylum for millions of refugees. In the United States we have heard about the crisis in bits and pieces, but have not had to deal with the upfront reality that many Middle Eastern and European countries have dealt with. From setting up safe zones to providing food and water these countries have been in the front line since the crisis started nearly three years ago. Donald Trump has decided that he would prevent Syrians refugees and Muslims from coming into the United States to seek asylum and start a new life. This position taken by the Republican presidential candidate has grouped a large ethnic and religious group together in fear of terrorism and the rejection of human rights. Many have rallied behind him to say that this is the appropriate response for the events going on in the world. What we do not realize is the implications this has, not only for Muslims in other countries but Muslims in America. Since 9/11 the racial profiling, discrimination against, and fear of Muslims has increased. (Figure 3)



Figure 3.



American Muslim citizens fear for their lives, homes, children, and livelihood and cannot return to life pre-9/11. The people of Syria have had their basic human rights violated for several years while the rest of the world has watched.


“We are not terrorists; we had this uprising because we wanted to have our simplest right, which was to be treated as humans”-Roula Syrian aid worker


These are men, women, and children we are talking about… Humans just like you and me. Trumps supporters on this issue have allowed him to capitalize on their fear and insecurities in order to believe that closing our borders are the only solution. Many of these refugees are engineers, teachers, scientists, economists, doctors, nurses, architects, skilled technicians and other specialized professionals. Including them into our country would benefit our economy would aid in stimulation of the economy and is the RIGHT thing to do.


How can you deny citizenship to someone who will work as hard as he or she needs to in order to be a productive member of society? Trump is calling for an end to birthright citizenship in the United States which will not grant citizenship to children born of illegal immigrants in the United States. When has this country and society become so entitled to absolutely everything? I believe the problem starts with the “me” culture we are a part of… that’s right we cannot blame anyone but ourselves for allowing our country to get to this point. Surely Trump would not be saying the things he is if he did not know there was a large group of people behind him to front a vote. He is doing the easy thing knowing that America is going through some international and domestic difficulties. To me this is exploitation of the American people who work hard each and every day to put bread on the table, roof over their heads, and clothes on their backs. What America NEEDS is a candidate that will admit there is a problem (many of them), make the hard decisions, fight tirelessly to protect the constitution, freedom, and justice.

Mr. Trump you will not be receiving my support or vote. It is your kind of thinking that will continue to foster fear, hatred, segregation, racism, bigotry, and will result in the further deterioration of and hinder our progress as a country and society.



Art Works (Update)

Last Monday, November 23rd, Kate and I presented our program proposal for  a Social Justice Challenge hosted by Rutgers University- Newark School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA). Unfortunately, we were not selected as the recipients for the $5,000 prize for the national tract, instead we were selected as the 1st runner-up.

What is Art Works?

Art works was a brainchild formed by us when we were thinking of Social Justice issues affecting youth of low socio-economic status and minority groups. Being from New Jersey and looking to create a local project we selected to use Newark as our area of study and future site for our projects’ pilot area. After several meetings and discarding other ideas we kept coming back to education, particularly public education in inner-cities. It is well known that since the economic crisis of 2008 there have been many local, state, and federal budget cuts on most if not all programs. Some of these being public education and social services. 


Public Education in Newark

On a national level, staff members, teachers, and schools have been challenged to raise student scores ,standardized testing and completing subject curriculum within 180 days, focus on student development, correcting assignments, to name a few. All while having larger class sizes, dealing with teacher assessments, lack of contracts, and a reduction in funds.

Over the past 5 years Newark Public Schools have been losing funding and have had to make adjustments to their programs, often resulting in the reduction of staff, arts, and extracurricular programs. Quality and complete education is a right and not a privilege that must focus on academic development as well as social and cultural growth. The lack of holistic education has created a ripple effect that is negatively impacting communities in Newark. Without quality education and the increasing budget cuts there has been an inverse correlation between education and crime (CD-Index 618.3 vs. USA CD- Index 294.7 ) ,dropout ( ACS 2013  6.2% vs. USA 4.5%) and graduation rates (67.7% US. Department of Education).

Studies conducted by the National Endowment for the Arts have shown that youth engaged in high arts regardless of socioeconomic status have higher levels of political engagement, efficacy, and community involvement. These studies show that stronger integration and investment in the arts have a strong correlation to community/civic engagement, high school graduation, college enrollment and achievement.


Find the whole report with additional information here.

Looking Forward

Art works is certainly not the solution for the education reform that needs to occur in Newark, instead it aims to be a low-cost/ high-impact supplement to integrate the arts into education and empower, educate, inform, inspire the under-served population within our society. We hope that we can partner with other like-minded individuals, organizations, and institutions. While we were not able to attain the $5,000 to initially start Art Works we remain hopeful and are looking for other ways to accomplish our goal. We are currently planning to submit an updated proposal to Rutgers University-New Brunswick & Newark and Newark’s Board of Education that will go into more depth of community participation, impact analysis, and overall need for projects such as Art Works.

Below find our current Abstract and proposal (12/1/2015):

Art Works Abstract
Art Works Proposal

You can also watch a recording of our presentation by following this link. The presentation starts at min 22:40 and ends at 38:00. Any comments, questions, or general participation interest can be sent to me via comment or e-mail at