The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice uses cutting-edge racial and social justice advocacy to empower people of color by building reparative systems that create wealth, transform justice and harness democratic power—from the ground up—in New Jersey.






In December 2019 – as a result of the collective advocacy of the 1844 No More Campaign led by the Institute – Governor Murphy signed into law voting rights restoration for 83,000 people on probation and parole in New Jersey.

One of those 83,000 was Ron Pierce, the institute’s Democracy & Justice Fellow, whose political voice was silenced for 34 years.

Watch this screening of Voter, a 15-minute documentary about Ron’s journey from a family where voting was everything, to being incarcerated and losing the vote, to becoming a lead voting rights advocate in NJ.

The screening, held with our partners at NJPAC on October 26, 2020, was complemented by a discussion including remarks from Governor Murphy, Asw. Shavonda Sumter and other people who have had their votes restored.

Hear from NJ Youth about What They Need to Stay Out of the Criminal Justice System


In the News

Family of Najee Seabrooks Joins Renewed Call for Federal Intervention into Paterson Police Misconduct

April 26, 2023



NEWARK – The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice today was joined by the family (estate) of Najee Seabrooks and over 55 organizations in a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) strongly urging the DOJ to investigate Paterson Police Department’s (PPD) longstanding pattern of illegal, abusive and racially disparate policing.

The letter follows a previous request for federal intervention sent to DOJ on March 13. Today’s follow-up letter emphasizes that a federal investigation remains critical despite New Jersey Attorney General Matt Platkin’s takeover of the PPD on March 27.

Institute Responds to Attorney General Action Regarding Paterson Police and Continues to Urge DOJ Investigation

March 29, 2023

NEWARK – The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice today responded to Attorney General Matthew Platkin’s announcement of an AG takeover of Paterson police and other initiatives. The following can be attributed to Yannick Wood, Director of the Criminal Justice Reform Program at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice:

“It is encouraging that the Attorney General recognizes the deeply rooted problems plaguing the Paterson Police, and that he has taken swift action to address them. He is right to acknowledge the ‘crisis of confidence in law enforcement’ in Paterson. We, and he, must also remember that the ‘crisis in confidence’ is a direct result of a crisis in policing – and a crisis of police violence – against Black and other people of color.

Institute Releases Brief on Racial Wealth Gap and Other Financial Disparities

March 27, 2023

NEWARK – Today, 55 years after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. visited Newark to promote the Poor People’s Campaign, the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice released The Two New Jerseys By the Numbers, a brief containing several points of data that demonstrate the vast financial disparities between New Jersey’s Black, Latina/o and white residents.  

“Whether we are talking about wealth, homeownership, income or poverty, the disparities between Black and Latina/o New Jerseyans and their white neighbors remain alarmingly vast, some of the worst in the country,” said Laura Sullivan, Director of the Economic Justice Program at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice. “These disparities are not an accident or a result of individual behavior. They are a result of persistent and daunting policy obstacles that have compounded over generations to hold back a large percentage of New Jersey’s residents of color. These obstacles must be met with equally forceful policy solutions, including those the Institute advocates for every day.”  

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