In the News

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. 

Newark City Council Passes Resolution Supporting State Reparations Task Force

Say the Word: Reparations Campaign Gains Momentum 

NEWARK – In response to advocacy from social justice advocates across the state, the Newark City Council today passed a resolution endorsing the enactment of the New Jersey Reparations Task Force bill currently pending in the state legislature. 

The state legislation (S386/A938) would establish a Reparations Task Force to study New Jersey’s often overlooked and deep history of slavery and its aftermath and make policy recommendations to repair the enduring harm. Generations of structural racism have led to New Jersey today having some of the highest racial wealth disparities in the nation. 

United Black Agenda Responds to Gov. Murphy’s Nomination of Matt Platkin for NJ Attorney General

NEWARK – The United Black Agenda coalition today issued the following statement in response to Gov. Murphy’s nomination of Matt Platkin for Attorney General: 

“Given the many issues that fall under the Attorney General’s purview with substantial racial justice implications, we are pleased that Governor Murphy has made a nomination to fill that important role and transition the office’s leadership from an ‘acting’ status. We acknowledge Acting Attorney General Bruck for the work we were able to do with him. If Mr. Platkin is confirmed, we look forward to continuing that progress."

Several Important Racial Justice Bills Passed and Signed into Law in New Jersey

NEWARK – Governor Murphy on Monday signed into law – and the Legislature passed – several important bills that will promote racial justice, help New Jersey’s young people and expand democracy in the Garden State.  

“During a time when we are seeing unrelenting assaults on racial justice and equity in America, we are encouraged that we are making progress in New Jersey in some important areas,” said Andrea McChristian, Law & Policy Director at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice. “This movement forward would not happen but for the hard work of advocates across the state showing up when it matters.”

The governor signed into law a bill (S3319/A5507) eliminating oppressive fines and fees for young people caught up in the criminal justice system. Some of these fines and fees were eliminated two years ago; this bill finishes the job by abolishing outstanding fines and fees. A recent report by the Institute’s Camden Youth Council called out the damaging impact of these fines and fees.  

Voting Rights Advocates Respond to Detailed Congressional District Map, Decrying Reduction in Voting Power for Communities of Color in Several Districts

NEWARK – In response to the release of more detailed data regarding the congressional district map certified by the New Jersey Redistricting Commission, the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and voting rights advocate Juan Cartagena today expressed concern about the reduction in populations of color in several New Jersey congressional districts.  

In the 8th Congressional District, the Hispanic population of voting age was reduced to under 50%, raising serious concerns under the Voting Rights Act and Supreme Court precedent, given that the Latina/o population currently controls the district. 

In the 12th Congressional District, the Black population was significantly reduced from the current map.  

In the 6th and 12th Congressional Districts, the Asian American population was also reduced, keeping the Asian American community “cracked” into several districts, thereby diluting their power.  

Institute to Host Community Conversation about Newark Police Division’s Compliance with Consent Decree

NEWARK, NJ -- The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice will host a virtual conversation with Newark Police Division (NPD) Independent Monitor Peter Harvey on Thursday,  

Dec. 9at 6 p.m. about the findings of his 16th, 17th and 18th Quarterly Reports on the Police Division’s compliance with a 2016 consent decree. 

Community members are encouraged to attend and participate in the conversation. 


WHAT: Conversation with NPD Independent Monitor on compliance status of consent decree 

WHERE: Register for online forum at 

WHEN: Dec. 9, 2021 @6-8 p.m. EST