The Newark School Board gained an LGBTQ voice last Tuesday when voters elected Reginald Bledsoe to the board. Prior to running for office, Reginald served as a legislative aide to Newark City Council member Eddie Osbourne. He also worked as a legislative aide to a former freeholder president and as a Democratic ward leader in Newark. As a legislative aide, Reginald has fought for transitional and supportive housing for the LGBTQ community and worked with Mayor Baraka to launch the Newark LGBTQ-friendly business decals program.
Reginald ran in a crowded race with 16 candidates vying for three open seats. Reginald was part of the Newark Unity Slate along with two other candidates who received the endorsement and support from Newark Mayor Ras Baraka. Reginald won the second highest number of votes and all 3 members of the Newark Unity Slate won seats on the board, ousting an incumbent.
It is important that openly LGBTQ voices like Reginald sit on school boards as LGBTQ students have recently been under attack. President Trump recently rolled back protections for transgender students implemented by President Obama and states continue to introduce “bathroom bills” to restrict transgender students from using the bathroom that reflects their gender identity. LGBTQ elected representation is key in fighting for LGBTQ students and allowing all students the opportunity to attend welcoming schools and receive a fulfilling education.