In the News

Advocates Respond to Low Voter Turnout in Newark Municipal Election

Newark – The following can be attributed to Ryan P. Haygood, President & CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, Deborah Smith Gregory, President of the Newark NAACP and Vivian Cox Fraser, President and CEO of the Urban League of Essex County, in response to Newark's low voter turnout in Tuesday's municipal election.

"Tuesday’s Municipal Election in Newark had a dismally low voter turnout. While disappointing, it was hardly surprising given the long history of low turnout in Newark.

Jersey City Passes Resolution Endorsing NJ Reparations Task Force Legislation

JERSEY CITY – On Wednesday night, the Jersey City Council passed a resolution endorsing state legislation (S386/A938) to establish a Reparations Task Force in New Jersey

Jersey City is the tenth location to pass such a resolution, following East Orange, South Orange, Maplewood, Plainfield, Montclair, Newark, Trenton, and Essex and Mercer Counties.  

"It is critical that the legislation to create a New Jersey Reparations Task Force move forward," said Jersey City Council President Joyce Watterman. "Black Americans have yet to receive reparations for state sanctioned slavery. It is time that America, and New Jersey, look into the mirror and correct that wrong, and take actions to live up to our ideal as a society truly based on the premise that all of us are created equal. I am proud that our Council is endorsing the state legislation to establish a Reparations Task Force.” 

Social Justice Organizations Issue Dissent to Report from Task Force for the Continued Transformation of Youth Justice in New Jersey

NEWARK – The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, the NAACP New Jersey State Conference, Latino Action Network and Salvation and Social Justice (the “Social Justice Task Force Members”) today issued a dissent to a report issued by the Task Force for the Continued Transformation of Youth Justice in New Jersey (the “Youth Justice Task Force”) that calls for the construction of three new youth prisons in New Jersey.

The Social Justice Task Force Members are part of the larger Youth Justice Task Force created by an executive order signed by Governor Murphy on October 26, 2018. The task force report comes over four years after former Governor Christie’s January 8, 2018 announcement that Jamesburg and Hayes youth prisons were to be shut down. Those two prisons, in addition to JMSF, remain open today. (The Youth Justice Task Force report contains a previously filed objection raised by the Social Justice Task Members.)

Connecticut and Utah Election Officials Tout Benefits of Same-Day Voter Registration to New Jersey Legislators at Briefing Today 

NEWARK – Top election officials from Utah and Connecticut joined Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way, the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and the League of Women Voters of New Jersey today to brief New Jersey legislators, legislative staff and election officials on same-day voter registration. The Utah and Connecticut officials emphasized the secure nature of same-day voter registration and the capability of election officials in their states to implement it smoothly and effectively. 

Connecticut and Utah are two of 20 states – in addition to Washington, D.C. – that have same-day voter registration.   

Through its Democracy in A Day campaign, New Jersey advocates have been urging legislators to pass A1966/S247, sponsored by Assemblyman Mukherji and Senator Sandra Cunningham. The legislation will allow eligible residents to securely register and vote in a single day, including on Election Day.   

Institute Releases Black Homeownership Matters

NEWARK – The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice today released Black Homeownership Matters: Expanding Access to Housing Wealth for Black New Jerseyans, a report examining the barriers to Black homeownership – and the wealth benefits that come from it – faced by Black New Jerseyans. An Executive Summary of the report can be found here

Black New Jerseyans simply do not have the same access to owning homes as their white neighbors do,” said Nichole Nelson, Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow and Policy Analyst and the primary author of the report. “Even when Black households are able to own homes in New Jersey, they face substantial barriers to wealth-building and enjoy significantly fewer financial benefits from homeownership than their white peers.

New Jersey Institute for Social Justice Reacts to Confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson as U.S. Supreme Court Justice

NEWARK – The following can be attributed to Ryan P. Haygood, President & CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, in reaction to the confirmation today by the U.S. Senate of Ketanji Brown Jackson as Supreme Court Justice

“There is great joy in seeing America reach this milestone – and great meaning for Black women and girls who see themselves represented in Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson despite all the forces that still stand in their way. 

Institute Applauds Legislature and Governor for Enacting Poll Worker Pay Increase

NEWARK – In response to the passage and signing into law of A208/S1290 increasing poll worker pay from $200 to $300/day and allocating $7 million to pay for the increase, the following can be attributed to Aaron Greene, Associate Counsel in the Democracy & Justice Program at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice

Institute and Over 90 Groups Urge Passage of Same Day Voter Registration Bill

Bill That Removes Arbitrary Barrier to Voting Stalled This Month 

NEWARK Over 90 advocacy groups including the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and the League of Women Voters of New Jersey today wrote to Gov. Murphy, Sen. President Scutari and Speaker Coughlin for a second time urging them to pass and sign pending legislation (A1966/S247) to establish same-day voter registration in New Jersey, including on Election Day. 

Advocacy groups wrote to Gov. Murphy and legislative leadership in March 2021 and despite support across the state and from Gov. Murphy, the bill remains stalled.  

“In the year that has passed, we have seen democracy come under attack both across the country and around the world. State after state has passed laws restricting the right to vote – most often impacting Black and other voters of color. It is crucial for New Jersey to step up as a leader in democracy,” said the letter. 

Institute Responds to Governor’s Proposed Budget for FY2023

NEWARK – The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice today issued the following reactions in response to the Governor’s proposed FY2023 budget. 

The following can be attributed to Laura Sullivan, Director of the Economic Justice Program at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice: 

“We are heartened that the Governor has made affordable housing a priority for the state and that he will continue to protect the Affordable Housing Trust Fund for its intended purpose. In addition, we are pleased that the Governor will be allocating resources from the American Rescue Plan to build additional affordable housing in the state through the new Affordable Housing Production Fund. As we highlight in our report, Making the Two New Jerseys One, the cost of housing in New Jersey is a staggering 41% higher than in the nation overall, while 20% of New Jersey households have incomes under $35,000. Affordable housing production is imperative to ensure that all families have a safe and affordable place to live, particularly families of color who are more likely to be renters.

New Institute Report Proposes Ways to Close the $300,000 Racial Wealth Gap in New Jersey

NEWARK – The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice today released Making the Two New Jerseys One: Closing the $300,000 Racial Wealth Gap in the Garden State

The new report reveals that while New Jersey is one of the most prosperous states in the nation, it is also characterized by some of the starkest racial and economic inequities. The Institute will be discussing these findings at a virtual event tonight, described below.  

“There are Two New Jerseys. Just as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. identified Two Americas over fifty years ago, today the Garden State is characterized by two economic extremes,” said Laura Sullivan, Director of the Economic Justice Program at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and primary author of the report. “In one New Jersey, made up disproportionately of Black and Brown households, families struggle to make ends meet. In the other, predominately white families have substantial wealth and financial reserves to weather the economic uncertainties of life and support mobility for their children. This is the definition of injustice.” 

The racial wealth gap between Black and white households in the U.S. is about $160,000, a substantial disparity, but one which pales in comparison to the gap in New Jersey.