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Our mission is 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

New Jersey Has the Highest Black/white Youth Committment/Detention Disparity Rate in the Country

September 15, 2017

The Institute issued the following statement in response to data released from The Sentencing Project that shows New Jersey has the worst Black/white youth commitment/detention racial disparity rate in the country:


Institute's Demelza Baer Interviewed on Census Data

September 15, 2017

Demelza Baer, Senior Counsel and Director of the Economic Mobility Initiative, spoke with the Star Ledger and NJ Spotlight on the new Census data on poverty and inequality.

From the Star Ledger:

Demelza Baer, senior counsel for the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, points to several possible factors as to why New Jersey has fallen behind in closing the gender gap.

New Jersey has seen a "hollowing out" of middle class wage earners as reflected in the state's high income inequality, Baer said...

Also, there are still structural barriers for women in the workforce to advance to better paying jobs -- the lack of inexpensive child care and discrimination in employment and job promotion, experts say.  

"We need to have policy responses to this," Baer said. "What we need to see is more of a specific effort to make sure that women, especially women of color, are on track to join middle skills jobs [that require more than a high school but less than a bachelor's degree] that pay a living wage and allow for upward mobility."

Demelza Baer's Work Featured in Governing

September 13, 2017

Governing reports: 

In Newark, N.J., where the unemployment rate is well above the state and national average, less than 20 percent of the jobs are filled by Newark residents. In Baltimore, a third of residents have jobs in the city where they live. In New Orleans, it’s 46 percent.

Among the city's 20 biggest employers -- colleges, hospitals and corporate headquarters -- only three percent of the money they spend on buying goods and services goes to vendors in Newark.

This helps to explain why one in three Newark residents live below the poverty line and why the city lost population for decades. But Newark Mayor Ras Baraka wants to turn those numbers around. His solution -- an initiative called Hire. Buy. Live. -- could provide other local governments with a playbook, some say, for spurring economic development in a way that prioritizes the welfare of residents...

Upcoming Events

Thu, Sep 28, 2017
12:00 PM through September 30, 2017

Trenton Masonic Temple & Thomas Edison State University

35th Annual Leadership Conference: Still We Rise - Moving NJ's Black Agenda Forward

The Institute's Juvenile Justice Campaign Manager Retha Onitiri will be leading a discussion on youth incarceration, "Our Youth, Our Future, Our Fight." The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice ...

Wed, Oct 04, 2017
12:00 PM through October 07, 2017

1900 University Ave, Austin, TX 78705, United States AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center
Austin, TX

Investing in America's Workforce Capstone Conference 2017

Institute President and CEO Ryan P. Haygood is a featured speaker at the Investing in America's Workforce Capstone Conference 2017. Please click here for more information. 

Fri, Oct 13, 2017
08:30 AM

1919 NW Connecticut Ave, Washington, DC 20009, United States The Washington Hilton
Washington, DC

In Solidarity We Rise: Healing, Opportunity and Justice for Girls

Retha Onitiri, Manager of the 150 Years is Enough campaign, and Andrea McChristian, Institute Associate Counsel, will be leading a workshop on girls and the youth justice system entitled The Forgot...

Fri, Oct 27, 2017
08:30 AM

126 College Ave, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, United States Rutgers University College Avenue Student Center
New Brunswick, NJ

2017 Poverty Summit: Dismantling Poverty

Ryan P. Haygood will be a keynote speaker at the 2017 Poverty Summit, hosted by the Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey. Also, at the Summit Institute Associate Counsel Scott Novakowski will speak o...

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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