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Lawrence Hamm, a social justice activist and chairman of the People’s Organization For Progress, has announced that he is a candidate for U.S. Senator for the state of New Jersey.

Hamm will be running in the New Jersey Democratic Primary Election which will take place in June of next year. He filed as a candidate with the Federal Election Commission last week.

“I am running for the U.S. Senate because I want to make life better for people in this country. Our government must work for the benefit of all the people, not just the rich and powerful,” Hamm stated.

“As Senator I will fight for Medicare For All, a $15 per hour federal minimum wage, cancellation of student debt, free college, reparations for African Americans, protection and expansion of social security, and other programs, policies, and legislation to help people,” he said.

The office he is seeking is currently occupied by Senator Robert Menendez who was indicted last week on federal corruption charges.

Hamm said he made his decision to run before the indictment of Senator Menendez. “I had been contemplating running for the Senate since earlier this year and made my final decision to run in July,” he said.

Regarding the indictment Hamm said “Senator Menendez is innocent until proven guilty. However, the charges against him are serious and have caused him to step down as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He should take the next step and resign from office.”

This is Hamm’s second run for the U.S. Senate. He ran against and lost to Senator Cory Booker in 2020. Hamm received nearly 119,000 in that race.

That same year he was also chair of the Bernie Sanders campaign in New Jersey. And in 2016 he was a Sanders delegate to the National Democratic Convention.

Hamm also supported Rev Jesse Jackson when he ran for president in 1984 and 1988. He was co-chair of the 1988 campaign in New Jersey, and was a Jackson delegate to the Democratic National Convention that year.

Hamm, 69, was raised in Newark and attended the city’s public schools. He graduated from South Seventeenth Street Elementary school and Arts High School. He currently resides in Montclair, New Jersey.

Hamm’s political journey began in 1971 when as a high school student and student government leader he led a walkout, march and sit-in over student concerns. This led to his appointment at age 17 to the Newark Board of Education by Mayor Kenneth A. Gibson, making him the youngest school board member in the nation.

After serving a three year term on the school board he completed his undergraduate studies at Princeton University and graduated cum laude with a degree in politics.

While at Princeton he was a leader in the campus anti-apartheid movement which was struggling to get Princeton to divest its stock holdings in companies doing business with the racist apartheid regime in South Africa. After many protests and a building takeover the university divested from several corporations.

After graduating from Princeton Hamm returned to Newark. In 1982, he became founder and chairman of the People’s Organization For Progress (POP). A grassroots organization working for racial, social, and economic justice.

POP has been active over the past 40 years around a wide range of issues affecting the black community, and working and poor people in general. POP has been especially active on the issue of police brutality.


IBW21 (The Institute of the Black World 21st Century) is committed to enhancing the capacity of Black communities in the U.S. and globally to achieve cultural, social, economic and political equality and an enhanced quality of life for all marginalized people.