Demelza Baer: How the #TaxBill Will Harm Communities of Color

Institute Senior Counsel Demelza Baer writes in Next City:

In addition to undermining access to healthcare and affordable housing, these tax bills also represent a grave threat to education and educational opportunity. At a time when the cost of higher education is increasingly out of reach and millions of Americans are struggling to pay their student loans, the House bill would repeal the student loan interest deduction. Over 12 million people currently take this deduction, which allows some taxpayers to lower their taxable income by $2,500 as they repay their loans. This would particularly hurt students and graduates of color, because they have more student loan debt — black graduates have on average twice the student loan debt of white graduates.

Ryan Haygood in the Star Ledger: How NJ Can Lead the County on Social Justice

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

New Jersey is poised to serve as national bright light for progressive action.

At the Institute, our eyes are focused on this moment to work with our partners, our new governor, and elected officials to advance solutions to some of the greatest social and racial justice challenges of our time -- including income inequality, reimagining youth justice, and building an inclusive democracy...

It is clear that change will happen, as it always has, from the ground up in our communities.

Together, we can lift up these critical issues to make New Jersey a standard bearer for social and racial justice.

Together, we can do social justice.


TAPinto: Somerville Forum Examines Issues with Justice System

TAPinto reports:

Another presenter was James Williams IV, a juvenile justice field organizer at the NJ Institute for Social Justice. He briefly explored the racial aspect of the issue, informing the audience that in New Jersey, blacks are 30 times more likely to be incarcerated; he also said that 1 in every 13 black Americans cannot vote.

Williams detailed that one time, he heard a woman say the criminal justice system was perfect, and initially didn’t agree. However, he went on to add the conclusion he eventually came to.

"The system is doing perfectly...we’re great at locking up people of color," he said.

A statistics sheet that was given to audience members at the beginning disclosed even more - one in every six black men have been imprisoned since 2001, or that five times as many whites are using drugs compared to African-Americans, yet African-Americans are incarcerated for drug-related crimes at a rate ten times higher than that of whites.

WBGO: Newark Art Exhibit Brings Advocates Together To Discuss Mass Incarceration

WBGO reports:

There’s been a sharp decline in the number of young people jailed in New Jersey.  Andrea McChristian with the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice says it didn’t come without racial disparities. 

“In the nation, New Jersey has the worst black to white racial disparity rate.  We have the second worst Latino to white youth incarceration rate in the nation, only coming behind Wisconsin.”

McChristian says as of June 2017, there are 234 inmates in New Jersey’s youth prisons.  About seventy-percent of them are African American.

“Youth incarceration and incarceration as a whole are a racial justice issue.  If we were seeing for example the same sympathy for our kids of color that we are seeing with other children in terms of the opioid crisis, this would be a national issue.  If these were white kids locked away in these youth prisons at these alarming rates, it would be a national issue on everyone’s tongue.”


Show you #dosocialjustice with a #dosocialjustice tote bag

As a new year approaches with a new administration in the State House, New Jersey is poised to serve as a national bright light for transformative change.

With your partnership, we will work together to ensure that urban residents live in a New Jersey that respects their humanity, provides equality of economic opportunity, empowers them to use their voice in the political process, and protects equal justice.

But we need your help to make this vision a reality.

Please make a donation to the Institute today here. For those who sign up for a monthly contribution of at least $19 -- in honor of the Institute's upcoming 19th birthday -- we will send our #dosocialjustice tote bag as our thanks to you.

This moment provides us with a mandate that must guide us each day: to realize social justice, we must do social justice. Here at the Institute, we are clear that change will happen, as it always has, from the ground up in our communities.

Together, let's do social justice.

BrickCityLive: Newark police monitor will hold community forum to discuss quarterly oversight report findings

BrickCityLive reports:

Ryan P. Haygood, President and CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and a member of the Independent Monitoring Team, said this is a crucial time for creating a police department that serves Newark residents. “But for us to realize the potential of this moment, the community must be fully engaged and heard,” said Ryan. “That’s why community forums like this are so important.”

Updated Community Resource Guide for Newark Residents

Please check out our updated Community Resource Guide for Newark residents at this link



Times of Trenton: Trump era politics gives rise to racist campaign ads

The Times of Trenton Editorial Board writes:

"I certainly have not seen fliers this explicitly racist in the past, and I do think it's an outgrowth of the 2016 campaign and the language and policies being advanced by the administration," says Scott Novakowski, associate counsel for the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice.

Novakowski worries that the current climate is "normalizing" racism, making it all the more essential to push back.

All of this has resonance in New Jersey, which likes to pat itself on the back for being one of the most ethnically diverse states in the union.