From the

Ground Up

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.



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In the News

The Honorable Loretta Lynch Celebrates the Institute at 13th Annual Gala

June 21, 2018


On June 19, 2018 ("Juneteenth") before more than 300 guests at our 13th Annual Gala in Newark, the Honorable Loretta Lynch said that the Institute "holds the future of this city in their hands. And it could not be in better hands."

More than 300 partners attended to celebrate the extraordinary honorees, the Honorable Loretta Lynch, the National Social Justice Awardee; David Mills, the Alan V. and Amy Lowenstein Social Justice Awardee; Wade Henderson, the Lifetime Achievement Awardee; Lowenstein Sandler LLP, the Corporate Leadership Awardee; and Leecia Eve, the Community Builder Awardee. Each of them embody the Institute's mission and share its commitment to doing social and racial justice. 

This year's theme, "From the Ground Up," recognizes that social justice will always occur from the ground up in our communities, even in difficult national moments, like this one.
The Institute's advocacy is a powerful example of social and racial justice effectively advanced at the state and local levels, despite the racist, xenophobic, and dangerous policies being promoted by national leaders, including President Donald Trump.

After nearly 20 years on the front lines of social justice, the Institute is as committed as ever to ensuring 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.

Census 2020: Institute Joins 150+ Groups in Opposing the Citizenship Question

June 19, 2018

The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice has joined The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, The Leadership Conference Education Fund, Muslim Advocates, National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, and more than 145 other organizations in a “friend of the court” brief in the litigation brought by the State of New York against the U.S. Department of Commerce challenging the inclusion of an unnecessary, xenophobic, and intrusive citizenship question in the 2020 Census.

The groups write in part:

A fair and accurate 2020 census is a critical civil rights issue. Not only is the constitutionally mandated census central to apportioning political power at every level of government, but the data collected also influence the annual allocation of more than $800 billion in federal money, along with countless policy and investment decisions by government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private enterprise. Given its foundational importance to American government and society, the census must be above partisan politics. The misguided decision to reverse seventy years of consistent census practice and insert an untested citizenship question undermines the integrity of the count, damages our communities, and violates the Census Bureau’s constitutional and statutory duties to conduct a full enumeration of the U.S. population.

Ryan Haygood in the Star Ledger: School integration is possible, necessary, and long overdue.

June 12, 2018

Institute President and CEO Ryan Haygood writes in the Star Ledger:

Integrating our schools would, thus help eliminate the entrenched housing segregation by race, ethnicity, and income that has become a hallmark of our state. 

This reality of our segregated school system is confirmed by my wife's experience as an educator in the Newark Public School system for more than 20 years. In that time, in more than two decades at three different schools, my wife has never had a white student. 

And though my wife and her superb colleagues have empowered their young scholars to overcome the odds with a top-flight education that has produced stunning results, they have done so in spite of staggering structural racism, hyper-segregation, and concentrated poverty.

This is not the promise that was envisioned by Brown.

Upcoming Events

Mon, Jun 25, 2018
05:30 PM

55 Ludlow St, Newark , NJ 07114, United States Training, Recreation and Training Center
Newark , NJ

June 25: Meet the Independent Monitor

Please join us for a conversation with the Independent Monitor of the Newark Police Division, Peter Harvey, to discuss the findings in the Independent Monitor’s fourth quarterly report. The event w...

Wed, Jun 27, 2018
07:00 PM

801 W State St, Trenton , NJ 08618, United States Trinity Episcopal Cathedral
Trenton , NJ

1844 No More: Community Forum on June 27

Please join us for an educational forum on the need to restore the fundamental right to vote to people on probation, on parole, and in prison for a felony featuring: Assemblywoman Reynolds-Jackson...

Fri, Jul 20, 2018
09:00 AM through July 22, 2018

The Houstonian Hotel

Andrea McChristian Spark! Talk: Building a Prison to School Pipeline

Institute Associate Counsel Andrea McChristian will be a Spark! Talk presenter at The Future of Millennial America conference in Houston, Texas. To register for the conference, please click here. 

Sat, Jul 21, 2018
05:00 PM

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Ryan Haygood: The Poor People's Campaign

Institute President and CEO Ryan Haygood will speak on the Institute's work and the Poor People's Campaign.   

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.


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