From the

Ground Up

Learn More

The Institute seeks to ensure that urban residents live in a society that respects their humanity, provides equality of economic opportunity, empowers them to use their voice in the political process, and protects equal justice.



Learn About the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice


In the News

Star Ledger: Promises to the 94% Must Be Kept

September 19, 2018

Ryan Haygood writes in the Star Ledger:

Without the support of the Black community, it's unlikely that he would be New Jersey's governor, given that 53 percent of white voters supported his opponent.

So what does this Black support mean to the governor going forward? Murphy stated that he is conducting a racial disparity study.

That's the right place to start. Racial disparities in wealth, in access to the ballot box, and in criminal justice illuminate the systemic racism facing New Jersey's Black community.

For example, the median net worth for New Jersey's white families is $271,402 -- the highest in the nation. But the median net worth for New Jersey's Latino and Black families is just $7,020 and $5,900, respectively.

Additionally, New Jersey denies the vote to nearly 100,000 people who are in people who are in prison, on parole or probation. Half of those denied the right to vote are Black, though black people comprise just 15 percent of the state's population.

But nine months into his administration, the governor has not focused on these or the starkest racial disparities affecting New Jersey: its shameful youth incarceration system.

Times of Trenton: Gov. Murphy invests $10M to create a skilled N.J. workforce

September 17, 2018

The Times of Trenton Editorial Board wrote:

A non-profit organization working to improve the state's urban communities says it's found a key to economic prosperity in a tried-and-true labor arrangement that's been with us for generations.

The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice sees apprenticeships as a way to build a skilled workforce while putting women and minorities on an even playing field with other job applicants.

The approach has much to recommend it, especially for unemployed workers who continue to struggle in the long shadow of the 2008 recession.

In a stroke of cosmic good timing, the institute issued a report extolling the virtues of apprentice programs at the same time Gov. Phil Murphy has launched such an initiative through the state's Department of Labor.


101.5: A call for more apprenticeships to boost New Jersey economy

September 14, 2018

101.5 reports:

The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice's report calls on Garden State lawmakers to introduce a range of incentives to promote apprenticeship programs.

Demelza Baer, the Institute's senior counsel and director of the Economic Mobility Initiative, said many people are working but they’re “unable to afford all of life’s necessities, like rent, food and healthcare. This inequality is worse for people of color and women and it’s reached a really alarming level.”


Upcoming Events

Mon, Sep 24, 2018
07:00 PM

126 College Ave, Multi-Purpose Room A, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, United States Rutgers University College Avenue Student Center
New Brunswick, NJ

1844 No More: Restoring Voting Rights to People with Criminal Convictions

Please join us for a community forum on restoring the right to vote to people in prison, on parole, and on probation featuring advocates who are currently denied the right to vote.  

Mon, Sep 24, 2018
07:00 PM

123 E Cliff St, Somerville , NJ 08876, United States Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Somerset Hills
Somerville , NJ

James Williams: The School-to-Prison Pipeline

James Williams, Institute Youth Justice Field Organizer, will present on the school-to-prison pipeline at a forum hosted by the Central Jersey Community Coalition. The forum will focus on education...

Tue, Oct 02, 2018
12:00 PM

401 W Pratt St, Baltimore , MD 21201, United States Hilton Baltimore
Baltimore , MD

Ryan Haygood Speaking at the Philadelphia Federal Reserve

Institute President and CEO Ryan Haygood will speak at Reinventing Our Communities: Investing in Opportunity on the panel, Poverty to Prosperity: Transformation in America’s Rural and Urban Economi...

Sat, Oct 27, 2018
12:00 PM

231-251 Seymour Ave, Newark, NJ 07108, United States Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church
Newark, NJ

94 Percent

Ninety-four percent of Black voters cast their ballots for Governor Phil Murphy in 2017. Without this support from the Black community, it is unlikely that Phil Murphy would be New Jersey's governo...

Given the significant challenges we face, we have only two options: to embrace chaos or embrace community. We choose community. Join us as we work to bend our neighborhoods toward the beloved community.


Learn more about NJISJ