Tag Archive: Steven Goldstein

Mensch vs Con Man

Mensch vs. Con Man – that’s how friend of Blue Jersey Steven Goldstein views the contest between Senator Bob Menendez and challenger Bob Hugin. Goldstein’s career has ranged from television producer to legislative staffer to founder of Garden State Equality…
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Andrea Bowen leaving Garden State Equality

Andrea Bowen Garden State EqualityGarden State Equality announced this morning that Andrea Bowen is leaving the organization. Bowen, known to friends as Andy, made history a little more than a year ago when she joined GSE and became the nation’s first openly transgender executive director of a statewide LGBT civil rights organization.

Andy is leaving to do economic justice policy work at United Neighborhood Houses, close to her home in Brooklyn. But she will work with the GSE Board to locate a successor.

Andy’s leaving comes within days of the long-awaited release of the feature film Freeheld, which chronicles the moment when Garden State Equality found its footing and first big success in activism, when it coalesced around the fight waged by longtime police lieutenant Laurel Hester to see her pension benefits go to her partner Stacie Andree. Laurel died in February 2006 of lung cancer and she fought the Ocean County Freeholders almost up to her death, and though the (pre-marriage equality) domestic partnership law allowed the Freeholders to deny her, Hester’s determination and the people who showed up to fight alongside her and then in her name, forced them to do the right thing. In the coming film, based on an Oscar-winning doc by Cynthia Wade, Julianne Moore plays Hester, Ellen Page is Andree and Steve Carell plays Bowen’s predecessor Steven Goldstein.

Blue Jersey wishes our friend Andy good luck in her new work, and thanks for her contributions in New Jersey.  

Garden State Equality’s 10th Anniversary

Ten years age today, Garden State Equality was founded by Steven Goldstein. I remember the first meeting I ever attended as a guest, probably sometime in 2004 or 2005, somewhere in borrowed church space in North Jersey. It was the first meeting Cory Booker, now Senator Booker, attended too. Around a big table, every board member sat behind a little fold-up sign with their name on it, organized. And the meeting began with the opening of check envelopes as each member around the table read out who had sent contributions toward Garden State Equality’s future. You could see the aims and the stakes were going to be high.

Since then, marriage equality after much work on all fronts including with legal partners, an anti-bullying bill of rights, a ban on damaging (and insulting) conversion therapy in NJ, passage of a bill allowing transgender people to amend their birth certificates (vetoed by Christie), and a long list of other legislation that improves the lives of LGBT people and others.

Steven Goldstein made the Thank You video below, and included Blue Jersey. Awfully nice of him, considering he was the prime mover always. Several of us at Blue Jersey have served on GSE’s board. But for me, any thanks to Blue Jersey should be directed to our readers, who showed up in numbers when we helped GSE tell you what was going on, and to Juan Melli, Blue Jersey’s founder. It was a dying Ocean County police woman named Laurel Hester who really gave the marriage equality movement life here. And Juan helped Steven and GSE tell her story and make it matter to many people who didn’t understand before. Happy 10th to all of GSE’s many members.

The state party’s grassroots commitment is REAL

First of the NJDSC’s new Deputy vide chairs to weigh in. The other 3 are welcome to do so, too. Promoted by Rosi.

Hi, everyone.  I’m honored to serve as one of the party’s new deputy vice chairs along with trailblazing Speaker Sheila Oliver, red-hot rising star Atlantic Freeholder Colin Bell, and the talented operative among operatives Vin Gopal.  They’re three of the truest progressives and best all-around people in politics with whom many of us have ever worked.  

Friends, over the years we have all lived through joy and the pain in dealing with the state party, the best of times and the worst of times, to an extent worthy of Dickens.  Oh, how I lived it all in our fight for marriage equality, particularly during the 2009 campaign for marriage equality when a number of  Democrats we’d long supported didn’t support us back.  You probably remember how pointed I was in response.  No sellout, not then, not now, not ever.

New NJDSC Deputy Vice-Chairs

One of the things that came out of the state Democratic conference in AC that ended Saturday was the selection of 4 new deputy vice chairs:

  • Sheila Oliver, Assembly Speaker Emeritus  

  • Colin Bell, Atlantic County Freeholder at-Large

  • Steven Goldstein, Founder/Chair Emeritus of Garden State Equality

  • Vin Gopal, Monmouth County Democratic Committee Chair

    I pull a couple of potentially significant items out of the NJDSC release. The first is that all four were referred to as ‘party activists.’ At least two of them, Gopal and Goldstein, come into party politics from actual and recent progressive activism; I don’t think the use of the word ‘activist’ was an accident. The second is that two of them, Bell and Gopal, are younger than most of the party establishment. That’s potentially encouraging. (Bell I don’t know much about at all, I found a short bio on him here).

    In addition, a quorum of NJDSC voting members authorized the organization to establish additional caucuses intended to help build grassroots support for Democratic candidates. One of them will be a Progressive Caucus. We’ll have more on that down the line.  

  • Freeheld, the feature film about NJ’s Laurel Hester, is cast

    urlBlue Jersey was born on Wednesday, Sep 28, 2005 at 8:39pm, when its founder Juan Melli created his account at the blog he built on a new platform called soapblox.

    But Blue Jersey became what it is when we joined the fight for marriage equality in New Jersey, becoming a kind of unofficial communications arm of Garden State Equality. And what knitted so many of us together was the fight for her rights of a dying Ocean County police officer named Laurel Hester who wanted the benefits she earned go to her partner, Stacie. First she fought alone, then her best friend – a male officer who hadn’t known she was gay – fought with her. That lady had guts. Then Garden State Equality showed up for her, again and again. As Laurel’s lung cancer made it harder to breathe, GSE and its Steven Goldstein became a voice for her.

    Before she died, Laurel Hester’s determination gave life to a movement in a state that now recognizes the rights of its Laurels and Stacies to marry, so they get treated the way they deserve to be. Laurel was GSE’s test of fire, and it was our privilege to help where we could and help GSE tell her story.  An Academy Award-winning short documentary, Freeheld was made and premiered in New Jersey, with and for GSE.

    And now Laurel’s story – and Garden State Equality’s – will be a feature film. Here is the cast, according to Hollywood Reporter:

    Laurel Hester: Julianne Moore

    Stacie Andree: Ellen Page

    Steven Goldstein: Zach Galifianakis

    Peter Sollett will direct, from a screenplay by Ron Nyswaner, who wrote Philadelphia.

    I’m thinking of so many people I’m proud of right now. I can’t wait to see this.