Jamaal Bowman is a New York activist.
Jamaal Bowman has been a teacher, guidance counselor, dean, and, for the last decade, the founding principal of a well-regarded middle school in the Bronx.
Now, he wants to add a line to his resume: Congressman.
Bowman announced Tuesday a primary challenge for New York’s 16th Congressional district, pitting him against 16-term incumbent and powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY). Bowman isn’t the only educator mounting a challenge: Andom Ghebreghiorgis, who has worked as a special education teacher in New York City, is also running.
Though the odds may seem long, Bowman has the backing of the Justice Democrats, who are hoping for another upset after successfully supporting Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s insurgent bid for office.
Bowman is counting, in part, on his 20 years of experience in education to appeal to voters. Long before throwing his hat in the political rink, Bowman started The Cornerstone Academy for Social Action, or CASA, a middle school that has produced notable academic results despite serving mostly disadvantaged students.
He has been a vocal supporter of the opt-out movement boycotting state testing, especially within the black community. Bowman has also pushed for discipline reform, favoring restorative practices such as mediation in his school, rather than suspensions, which are disproportionately meted out, city data shows, to students of color. He’s also a big believer in the importance high-quality, early childhood care and education. A favorite word of Bowman is ‘holistic’ — an approach he likes to see in schools and one he’d like to see in government.
DUH 2020 possible endorsees
Albert Lee 2020 July 5, 2019,