A package of apprenticeship bills based on the Institute’s policy recommendations are making their way through the NJ legislature|

On Thursday, May 16, Senior Counsel and Director of the Economic Mobility Initiative Demelza Baer testified before the New Jersey General Assembly Labor Committee in support of four bills, which were unanimously passed by the Committee. These bills include A-4604 (S-3066), which would support the development of three adult apprenticeship pilot programs in high-growth industries in the northern, central, and southern regions of the state; A-4655 (S-3063), which would provide tuition fee waivers for apprenticeship courses at public colleges and universities, and county vocational schools; A-4656 (S-3064), which would establish a task force to develop a state plan to diversify apprenticeships, especially by gender, race, and disability status, through industry-specific recommendations; and A-4829 (S-3068), which would establish a peer-to-peer statewide apprenticeship mentoring program for women, people of color, and people with disabilities, all groups that are currently under-represented in federally-registered apprenticeship programs. The Institute's written testimony is available here.

Coalition of Black Organizations Challenges Status Quo in Trenton

May 1, 2019

Black voters in New Jersey were critical to Gov. Philip Murphy’s ascent to the state’s highest political office. The former Goldman Sachs banker and Democrat had never held public office before. And a majority of whites —53 percent — voted for his opponent, former Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, in New Jersey’s 2017 gubernatorial race.

But 94 percent of black voters pulled the lever for Murphy.

As Bernie Sanders Says 'No Apologies' for His Position, 70+ Groups Back Call for Prisoner Voting Rights

The advocacy organizations called on all 2020 presidential candidates to "publicly commit to ending felony disenfranchisement"

April 30, 2019

Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday unequivocally doubled down on his position that prisoners should have the right to vote—as dozens of civil rights groups urged every other 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to adopt the same stance.

Governor Murphy Taps Faith Leaders Support For Criminal Justice Reform

April 30, 2019

NEWARK, NJ - Two weeks after the governor’s office released a statement announcing a new secure youth residential center in North Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy stood before a crowd of Black, Christian faith leaders and members at the African Methodist Episcopal Church New Jersey Annual Conference asking for support, ensuring that his vision for a progressive state includes social-justice oriented criminal justice reform to change predatory laws and systems that disproportionately keep black people behind bars.

NJ Proposal Would Use Tax Dollars to Match Savings Accounts For Working Poor

April 28, 2019

A new report is proposing helping the working poor in New Jersey move ahead by using taxpayer funds and donations to create matching savings accounts.

Demelza Baer, the director of the economic mobility initiative at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, said the report calls for a new program to help Garden State residents earning below the median income

Bernie Sanders Is Right: We Should Let the Boston Marathon Bomber Vote

Incarcerated people are already paying their debt to society. What good does it do the rest of the population to take away their right to have a say?

April 23, 2019

One of the more noteworthy points of discussion from Monday night's series of town halls with 2020 Democratic presidential candidates focused on whether or not convicted felons should be allowed to vote while incarcerated.

Baraka Clarifies Stance on Youth Jails, Rehabilitation Centers

April 22, 2019

NEWARK, NJ - Mayor Ras Baraka clarified his position on new youth rehabilitation centers and jails on WBGO’s “Newark Today” after the release of a joint statement with the governor showed support for a new secure youth residential center.

“There's no way we should spend $160 million to build three jails -- I think -- or even three rehabilitation centers - new ones,” Baraka said over the airwaves Thursday night.

United Black Agenda Group and 150 Years is Enough Campaign Respond to Governor Murphy’s Youth Justice Statement

April 19, 2019

Newark, NJ—The United Black Agenda Group and the 150 Years is Enough Campaign issued the following response to Governor Phil Murphy’s April 18 statement regarding the state’s plan to build more youth prisons in New Jersey.

Baraka Sides With Murphy in Announcement of New Youth Rehabilitative Center

April 18, 2019

NEWARK, NJ - Mayor Ras Baraka came out in support of establishing a new youth rehabilitation center in an undisclosed North Jersey location just days after saying no new ones should be built.

The flip flop comes amid a debate between the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice (NJISJ) and  Gov. Phil Murphy over the state’s murky plans to open new youth rehabilitation centers. The state is currently moving towards closing at least one of its three youth jails in exchange for rehabilitation and treatment centers.

Newark Residents Elect School Board Members With Full Governing Power for 1st Time in Two Decades

April 16, 2019

NEWARK, NJ — For the first time in more than two decades, Newark residents will elect a school board that has full governing power.

In 1995, the State of New Jersey took over Newark schools in an effort to improve upon their performance. But outside control riled parents and yielded lackluster results.