Institute Statement on Charlottesville

"The unmasked white supremacist hatred and violence in Charlottesville is yet another jarring reminder of the significant work that must be done to achieve racial justice in our country, our states, and our local communities," said Ryan P. Haygood, President & CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice. "Meaningful condemnation of and healing from what happened in Charlottesville requires that we all challenge the policies and practices that do violence to our pursuit of racial justice right here in New Jersey.  Alongside our partners throughout New Jersey and in solidarity with partners across the nation, we will continue to advance a transformative vision for social justice from the ground up in our communities. This is our call to action. Let us, together, answer that call.”

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150 Years is Enough: Make Your Voice Heard

We are building this robust campaign from our communities up, powered by partners like you.  To help us keep our youth in their communities, and out of youth prisons, we ask you to join us in taking the following three steps today:   

1.      MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD! Call the legislators from Middlesex and Burlington counties to tell them you support closing Jamesburg and Hayes and creating a community-based system of care. Please click here for a listing of legislators, their contact information, and a script.

2.      LEARN ABOUT AVAILABLE RESOURCES! What will a community-based system of care look like? What youth programming is currently available in your county? Learn the answers to these questions by contacting your county’s Youth Services Commission. Each county’s Youth Services Commission is responsible for county youth programming, from prevention and diversion, through reentry services. Please click here for a listing of Youth Services Commissions.

3.      BECOME AN ADVOCATE FOR THE 150 YEARS IS ENOUGH CAMPAIGN!  Help us recruit volunteers; share information; assist with Campaign rallies and events; and join us in advocating for a new youth justice system. Youth and families who have been directly impacted by the juvenile justice system are strongly encouraged to join us as advocates. For more information, please contact our Juvenile Justice Campaign Manager Retha Onitiri at



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Institute Releases Community Resource Guide for Newark

The Institute is pleased to share our Community Resource Guide for Newark, which was developed at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice to provide the people of Newark with a comprehensive listing of the many resources that are available to residents -- including employment training opportunities, activities for families, food banks, and public library resources. Please access the guide at this link.

This guide would not have been possible without the significant input and recommendations of many of our community-based partner organizations included in this guide, as well as the dedication and time of our staff and interns.

If you or your organization would like a printed copy of the guide, please email our Communications Director Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg at
with the number of copies requested and your mailing address. 
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New York Times: A Revival Comes to Newark, but Some Worry It's 'Not For Us'

The New York Times reports:

Poverty in Newark remains at a rate well above the national average, and only 18 percent of the people who hold jobs in Newark live here, according to a report from the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice; in other large cities that figure is often between 30 and 50 percent.

“We knew that, ultimately, in order to transform the city, we had to attack poverty and unemployment,” Mr. Baraka said. “I think we have an opportunity here, because everybody is at the table, and they probably haven’t been at the table in this magnitude in a very long time, if ever.”

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Next City Highlights Demelza Baer's Report, "Bridging the Two Americas"

Next City reports:

Today, overall reported crime is down to its lowest level in 50 years, according to data provided by City Hall, but crime and poverty still remain a challenge. According to a policy report published this year by the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, almost 70 percent of Newark residents earn less than $40,000 a year and 33 percent of the city’s black population lives in poverty.

But even through the lean years, the arts in Newark never died. Perhaps most significantly, the Newark of the late ’60s and ’70s gave rise to the Black Arts movement with the poet Amiri Baraka (his son Ras is now mayor) as its leader. The movement celebrated black culture and identity, and many of today’s Newark artists say Amiri Baraka’s devotion to art and to his community has been a source of inspiration...

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Amsterdam News Reports on the Institute's Campaign to Close NJ Youth Prisons

The Amsterdam News reports: 

The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice recently launched a campaign to close the New Jersey Training School for Boys, known as “Jamesburg,” and the Female Secure Care and Intake Facility, known as “Hayes.” The organization, along with other groups, say the youth prisons are a new form of slavery.

According to NJISJ, the juvenile justice system is plagued by extreme racial disparities. Of the 222 youth who are incarcerated in the state’s three youth prisons, just 13 are white, despite research that shows Black and white youth have similar rates of offending.

June 28, more than 300 people gathered outside of the gate of Jamesburg to launch the campaign. Jamesburg was first opened on the date of the protest 150 years ago in 1867.

“We are lifting our collective voices to transform New Jersey’s youth incarceration system into a community-based system of care,” said Ryan P. Haygood, NJISJ president and CEO. “We must make sure that our youth receive the rehabilitation they need, so that they can mature and grow into responsible adults. That is not happening in the current system.”

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Institute's Report Featured in Story on Newark Restaurant Opening

The Star Ledger reports:

Chef Marcus Samuelsson is lending his celebrity cred to downtown Newark's renaissance with a new restaurant in the redeveloped Hahne & Co. building, but details about the high-profile eatery have been scarce -- until now.

The restaurant is expected to open this fall, and the 55-seat eatery will be an entirely new concept called Marcus B&P, an all-day casual restaurant with the food made entirely in-house or sourced locally, Samuelsson tells

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NJ Spotlight: Institute Report Featured in Number of the Day

NJ Spotlight's Number of the Day features striking statistics from Senior Counsel Demelza Baer's report, "Bridging the Two Americas: Employment and Economic Opportunity in Newark and Beyond":

Unlike other parts of the country, there is not a job shortage in Newark, according to “Bridging the Two Americas: Employment and Economic Opportunity in Newark and Beyond.” But of Newark’s approximately 136,979 jobs, only 18 percent are held by local residents. And those jobs tend to be low paying or part time with less than desirable working conditions.

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Atlanta Black Star: Civil Rights Groups In New Jersey Say Youth Prisons Should Be Abolished

The Atlanta Black Star reports:

“One-hundred and fifty years of youth incarceration is enough,” said Ryan P. Haygood, NJISJ president and CEO, in an announcement about the campaign. “We are lifting our collective voices to transform New Jersey’s youth incarceration system into a community-based system of care.”

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Institute's Work Featured in Youth First Newsletter

Youth First's newsletter highlighted the Institute's campaign to close New Jersey's youth prisons:

Further north, Youth Justice New Jersey launched their campaign to close youth prisons. New Jersey is joining the call for #NoKidsInPrison and telling New Jersey it’s time to close their youth prisons, Hayes and Jamesburg, once and for all. Thank you all for your commitment to remaking our justice system so that young people can find the help and opportunities they need to be successful without being taken away from their communities.

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