In the News

Coalition on Race hosts 20th annual Martin Luther King Jr. event

Essex News Daily reports

SOUTH ORANGE / MAPLEWOOD, NJ — The South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race is hosting its 20th annual Martin Luther King Jr. observance and luminary project on Monday, Jan. 18, at 2 p.m. This year’s event will be shared virtually via YouTube Live at https://youtu.be/hkh36SYKLm8. Everyone is welcome to participate; no account is needed.

At a time when the nation is simultaneously battling COVID-19, economic challenges, and racial injustices and inequities, the Community Coalition on Race’s goal for this year’s observance is to instill hope and sustain resilience locally. So, the MLK Planning Committee has chosen “Community in Times of Challenge and Controversy” as the theme for this year. 

Together, the community will reflect on and celebrate the spontaneous events, expanded programs, social justice protests and rallies, and other efforts that held South Orange and Maplewood together throughout 2020. The virtual format will feature reflections on King’s legacy shared by Andrea McChristian, law and policy director at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, along with a Columbia High School Special Dance Company performance, jazz by Gregory Buford’s School of Music, spoken word and premier videos.

Martin Luther King Day of Service: 16 North Jersey organizations that need your help

NorthJersey.com's Rebecca King reports

Every third Monday of January, the country celebrates the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a day of service.

This year, the day honoring the civil rights leader falls on Jan. 18, three days after King's birthday on Jan. 15.

Nearly 53 years after his death, the fight for racial justice is not over. The murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many other Black Americans have ignited protests and activism in the name of the equality fought for by Dr. King.

Looking to participate in an act of service this year in honor of King? Here are North Jersey non-profits and organizations you can donate-to or volunteer-at This MLK Day of Service.

 

Legislative redistricting delay certain after census announces further data hold ups

New Jersey Globe's Nikita Biryukov reports

The delay of New Jersey’s legislative redistricting was drawn into certainty Monday after a federal deputy attorney general said less-discrete data used to apportion House seats wouldn’t be available until at least Feb. 9.

Under a constitutional amendment voters approved in November, the state won’t redraw legislative district lines until 2023 if the state doesn’t receive census data by Feb. 15, and it now appears certain that New Jersey won’t have the data in time.

It’s possible the house reapportionment figures will be delayed even further as Census Bureau officials work to remedy unspecified anomalies.

Though it is not required to do so, the bureau typically provides counts early to New Jersey and Virginia, which hold state elections in odd-numbered years, when there are usually no federal candidates on the ballot.

But the Census Bureau’s counts and data processing have both seen months-long delays spurred by the pandemic.

TBA Kabbalat Shabbat Service in honor of Dr. Martin Luther, Jr

Patch.com's Tina Greenberg reports

On Friday, January 15, 2021, 6:30 PM, Join us for Kabbalat Shabbat Service in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr, via Facebook Live

Guest speaker: Ryan Haygood, Esq., President & CEO, New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, will speak on "Where Do We Go From Here: Choosing Community Over Chaos"

Ryan P. Haygood is a nationally respected civil rights lawyer. As President and CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, he leads a majority-women of color team of racial justice advocates whose cutting-edge work – powered by grassroots organizing, research, writing, policy and legislative advocacy, and litigation – seeks to build reparative systems that create wealth, justice and power for Black, Latina/Latino and other people of color in New Jersey.

https://patch.com/new-jersey/livingston/tba-kabbalat-shabbat-service-honor-dr-martin-luther-jr

New Jersey Alliance For Immigrant Justice Welcomes New Director

Insider NJ reports

Newark, NJ – Wednesday, December 23rd, 2020 – The New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice announced Amy Torres as the new Director of the statewide coalition beginning in January 2021. The Alliance works to achieve local and state policies that welcome immigrants to become rooted in New Jersey. As the incoming director, Torres will lead a coalition of over 42 member organizations and three Alliance staff members to coordinate the policy and organizational priorities.

Torres brings seven years of immigrants’ rights policy advocacy and leadership experience, most recently as the Policy and Advocacy Director at the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC) in New York City. They also bring strong experience in coalition-building and advocacy in low-income, immigrant, and Asian and Pacific American communities, and in grassroots organizing in Hudson County. Torres’s work ethos is informed by their experience as a second-generation Filipinx immigrant tracing their roots from the Philippines to New Jersey.

 

Frontiers International Plainfield Area Club 45th Annual MLK Memorial Celebration Overview

Frontiers International Plainfield Area Club reports

PLAINFIELD, NJ — Frontiers International Plainfield Area Club will host its 45th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Celebration on Monday, January 18, 2021 at 10:00 AM Live on Facebook and YouTube @PlainfieldFrontiersClub. The guest speaker will be Ryan P. Haygood, Esq., a nationally respected civil rights attorney, President and CEO of the NJ Institute for Social Justice, where he leads a majority-women of color team of racial justice advocates whose cutting-edge work — powered by grassroots organizing, research, writing, policy and legislative advocacy, and litigation — seeks to build reparative systems that create wealth, justice, and power for Black, Latina/Latino and other people of color in NJ.

The Memorial Celebration, the longest running tribute to Dr. King in New Jersey, will honor the civil rights icon and the many contributions he made throughout his lifetime. The theme will be:
Insufficient Funds — the Bad Check to Black Americans: The Guarantee of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Lt. Gov. Oliver and State Legislators to Join Institute for Making Black Lives Really Matter in New Jersey

 

 

Lt. Gov. Oliver and State Legislators to Join Institute for Making Black Lives Really Matter in New Jersey

Event Will Feature Institute’s Action Agenda for 2021-2022

 

NEWARK – On January 21 at 7 pm, the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice will host Making Black Lives Really Matter in New Jersey: An Action Agenda for 2021-2022.

The event, which will be streamed on Zoom and Facebook Live @NJISJ, will feature Institute staff as well as Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver and several state legislators for a discussion on the deep racial disparities in New Jersey, exacerbated by the current public health and economic crisis.

At the event, the Institute will present its recently released Action Agenda laying out its recommended legislative and policy reforms to close the racial wealth gap, transform the youth justice system, keep communities safe, provide democracy for all and repair the harm of enduring racism. 

Attorney General Grewal Issues Directive to Further Transform State’s Juvenile Justice System

 

Attorney General Grewal Issues Directive to Further Transform State’s Juvenile Justice System 

 

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today issued a statewide directive to law enforcement establishing policies, practices, and procedures to further juvenile justice reform by diverting juveniles away from law enforcement and toward social or familial support whenever possible consistent with public safety and welfare. 

Over the past two decades, New Jersey has emerged as a national leader in juvenile justice reform.  Since 2003, the year before New Jersey implemented a groundbreaking program known as the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI), the total number of juveniles in detention per year has dropped by 80 percent, from about 12,000 to less than 2,500, with youth of color accounting for almost 90 percent of the decline. Further, youth who are placed in detention alternative programs in lieu of detention receive supervision and support in their communities while awaiting the outcome of their case in court. These reforms have not only reduced the number of juveniles sent to secure detention, but resulted in deep and dramatic systemic changes. The decline in numbers has allowed multiple detention centers to merge their operations and share services. At the start of JDAI, there were 17 county-operated detention centers in New Jersey; today there are seven. The reduction in the number of juveniles in pretrial detention has also led to a reduction in the number of juveniles committed to state custody at sentencing. Directive 2020-12 is intended to build upon these successes and push forward the next phase of New Jersey’s Juvenile Justice Reform efforts. 

Institute to Honor Nikole Hannah-Jones and Others at 15th Annual Gala on Nov. 10

 

 

Institute to Honor Nikole Hannah-Jones and Others at 15th Annual Gala on Nov. 10

Virtual Event Will be Free and Open to All

 

NEWARK – The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice will hold its 15th Annual Gala on Tuesday, November 10 at 6 pm. 

The virtual event, which is free and open to all, will be livestreamed on the Institute’s website as well as on Facebook Live @NJISJ, and is themed Community Over Chaos, harkening back to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s admonition that “we are confronted with the fierce urgency of now … this may well be mankind’s last chance to choose between chaos or community.”

“In these extraordinary times of national chaos, it is more important than ever that New Jersey double down on community and democracy,” added Haygood. “At this powerful event, we will celebrate our achievements we have made so far in the pursuit of social and racial justice, and commit to much work ahead.”

Institute Releases Beyond the Hashtag: Making Black Lives Matter by Closing JMSF and Building a Community-Based System of Care

 

 

Institute Releases Beyond the Hashtag: Making Black Lives Matter by Closing JMSF and Building a Community-Based System of Care

Report Proposes Radical Transformation of Youth Justice in New Jersey

 

NEWARK – The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice today released Beyond the Hashtag: Making Black Lives Matter by Closing JMSF and Building a Community-Based System of Care, a report arguing for the closure of the Juvenile Medium Security Facility (JMSF) and New Jersey’s two other youth prisons and, instead of incarceration, the development of a well-resourced community-based system of care that provides intensive treatment and services for young people to keep them out of the criminal justice system. A pdf of the report can be found here.

“It is time for New Jersey to go beyond the hashtag and radically transform its youth justice system,” said Andrea McChristian, primary author of Beyond the Hashtag. “Our youth prison system, including JMSF, is a harmful relic from generations past. Especially in these times, it is clearer than ever that we should focus on building up our kids, not building prisons for them.”