Latin School of Chicago

Latin Magazine Summer 2019

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 34 of 55

33 Taking Action LATIN MAGAZINE » SUMMER 2019 committeeman moves for the adoption of the resolution and it is seconded by another committeeman. After the motion passes unanimously with all committee members voting in favor, Jaffer notes that in light of the tragedy, the town will host a community brunch in the municipal building the following Sunday so that neighbors can connect and share concerns. The meeting continues with Jaffer presiding as the usual township business — police reports, ordinance adoption and payment of bills — is discussed. It's all in a day's work for Jaffer, the first South Asian woman to serve as a mayor in New Jersey and one of the first in the entire country. As a Muslim-American of Pakistani descent, Jaffer leads this 32-square-mile local government just north of Princeton. Jaffer has a prestigious day job, two day jobs in fact: teaching courses on Islam and South Asia through literature and film while also working on a book about secularism among Indian intellectuals as a post-doctoral research associate at Princeton University's Institute for International and Regional Studies. So what prompted her to add to her workload and run for public office? Shortly after Jaffer moved to the area in 2012, she noticed that the township committee was comprised of all Republicans, in sharp contrast to the racially and politically diverse population. "For a while I had been thinking that the elected officials did not represent my values. I got tired of calling [government] offices knowing that they were never going to change their stance. That's when I first started thinking of running for office myself." Even though she had worked at the U.S. State Department and for the U.S. Marine Corps, Jaffer never knew anyone who had run for public office, so she started talking to friends and family about running. A friend in California told her about a program called Emerge America, whose mission is to increase the number of Democratic women from diverse backgrounds running for public office. Emerge was just starting a chapter in New Jersey. Jaffer applied and was accepted. She attended a six month 70-hour training program in 2014, with classes held every weekend all around the state. 33 A

Articles in this issue

view archives of Latin School of Chicago - Latin Magazine Summer 2019