Coronavirus Hitting NJ Minority, Immigrant Communities Hard's Eric Kiefer reports

MONTCLAIR, NJ — The new coronavirus can infect people of all races and ethnicities. It doesn't care about your immigration status. But that doesn't mean the virus is taking an equal toll on New Jersey's communities, some say.

As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the nation, a rising tide of residents and community leaders are demanding that New Jersey officials take a hard look at how the disease is affecting minorities and immigrants.

"Our country has an incredibly poor history of health care when it comes to the treatment of minorities, especially in the black community," said Sen. Ronald Rice of the 28th District (Bloomfield, Glen Ridge, Irvington, Newark, Nutley).

Virginia Ends Prison Gerrymandering, the Latest Chapter in a Recent Tidal Wave

The Appeal's Daniel Nichanian reports

Virginia is the latest state to end prison gerrymandering, which is the practice of counting incarcerated people where they are detained rather than at their last known residence for purposes of redistricting. 

The adoption of Senate Bill 717 and House Bill 1255 this week paves the way for Virginia to draw fairer maps. The identical bills, which also make other changes to redistricting criteria, were passed by the Democratic legislature in February. Democratic Governor Ralph Northam approved them last week under the condition that lawmakers adopt a technical change, which they did on Wednesday. 

Virginia adds to a tidal wave of state action against prison gerrymandering that seemed unthinkable just a year ago.

New Institute Report, Erasing NJ’s Red Lines, Ties Generations of Housing Discrimination to Gaping Racial Wealth Gap in the Garden State and Offers Policy Recommendations



New Institute Report, Erasing NJ’s Red Lines, Ties Generations of Housing Discrimination to Gaping Racial Wealth Gap in the Garden State and Offers Policy Recommendations

Released in Midst of Pandemic, Report Highlights Structural Racism That’s Also Causing Communities of Color to be Disproportionately Impacted by Health Crisis

NEWARK – The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice today released Erasing New Jersey’s Red Lines: Reducing the Racial Wealth Gap Through Homeownership and Investment in Communities of Color. The new report shines a light on how generations of structural racism in housing have led to the gaping racial wealth gap in the Garden State, and offers bold proposals to address the problem.

“As this report is being released, New Jersey – along with the rest of the country and the world – is fighting a devastating public health crisis,” said Ryan P. Haygood, President & CEO of the Institute. “As we are experiencing in this pandemic, the cracks of racial injustice in society’s foundation are causing earthquakes in Black and other communities of color. One of those cracks is the staggering racial wealth gap that is largely driven by the generations of housing discrimination laid out in our report, and which can be addressed by our proposed solutions.”

Following Advocacy from Civil Rights and Youth Justice Advocates, Attorney General Grewal Announces All NJ Kids in JJC Facilities Will be Tested for COVID-19

Following Advocacy from Civil Rights and Youth Justice Advocates, Attorney General Grewal Announces All NJ Kids in JJC Facilities Will be Tested for COVID-19


NEWARK – After ongoing advocacy from civil rights groups including the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, Salvation & Social Justice, and the 150 Years is Enough campaign, NJ Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced today that every youth in the state’s Juvenile Justice Commission facilities will be tested for COVID-19.

Recent weeks have shown a steady uptick of both youth and staff testing positive in JJC facilities, where youth are living in close quarters, away from their families who are unable to visit them, and up until today, were only tested if they presented symptoms. As of today, 20 youth and 32 staff are reported to have tested positive.

Voting Rights Advocates Provide Plan for New Jersey Elections

Voting Rights Advocates Provide Plan for New Jersey Elections

Groups’ Recommendations Detail Steps to be Taken to Avoid Disenfranchisement


TRENTON – A diverse coalition of 35 statewide, local, and national organizations sent recommendations to Governor Murphy, Secretary of State Way, and legislative leadership laying out steps that must be taken to ensure that New Jersey’s upcoming elections are successful and robust. The groups stressed the need to protect health and voting rights by expanding, not restricting, access to the ballot.

Governor Murphy issued an Executive Order earlier this month postponing the primary election until July 7, 2020 but has yet to announce any logistical decisions regarding the election.

In This Time of Crisis, Workers Must Get Paychecks, Voters Must Get Ballots | Opinion

State Director for New Jersey Working Families Sue Altman writes

Our state is in the midst of a crisis, and New Jersey Working Families is proud that Trenton is stepping up to meet this unprecedented challenge.

Our elected officials are setting aside longstanding political and policy disputes to work together to protect residents from this ongoing health emergency.

Thanks to decisive action taken by Gov. Phil Murphy and the Legislature, New Jersey is leading the nation in an aggressive response.

Trenton is also working on ways to keep essential government functions going for the duration of this crisis — and to continue providing services to those who are most vulnerable in our society.

‘Be Still Mondays’ Begin in Newark to Combat COVID-19

New York Amsterdam News' Cyril Josh Barker reports

In an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus in Newark, Mayor Ras Baraka recently announced the installation of “Be Still Mondays” asking for a complete shutdown of the city once a week.

Beginning this Monday, “Be Still Mondays” will happen each week through May 11. While not an executive order, the weekly shutdown is a request that discourages all businesses except for health, safety, and welfare emergency services to close.

“We want to shut down the whole City,” Baraka said during his Thursday night Facebook Live briefing. “We’re sending out letters to all businesses asking them to close. Businesses that provide food and shelter for the homeless population may operate but the City is asking soup kitchens to limit their operations from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

A Message The Black Community Needs to Hear: Rona is Not Playing, Y’all

NJ Advance Media's Barry Carter reports

We have a problem right now with some folks in the black community.

Most are acting responsibly -- but some, and that sum, whatever the numbers maybe, makes me shake my head and tug at the brim of my fedora. They believe they’re invincible, that the coronavirus will never catch them, and they are taking a huge gamble with their lives and the lives of others as this highly contagious disease rips through the nation.

Here’s my message to New Jersey’s black community, which I have covered for many years:

Rona is not playing, y’all.

Hundreds Have Ignored Stay-at-Home Orders in Newark. Here’s Why The Stakes Are so High There.

NJ Advance Media's Payton Guion reports

Outside his home in the Weequahic neighborhood of Newark, Ryan Haygood watched for two weeks as his city struggled to come to terms with the significance of the coronavirus outbreak.

Even though Newark Mayor Ras Baraka was ahead of most other cities in New Jersey in his response — he first began holding daily briefings on March 16 — city officials were still having difficulties keeping people at home and non-essential businesses closed.

“A couple of weeks ago it was clear there were people in the city who were taking it very seriously and others who were not," said Haygood, president and CEO on the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice. "You could drive down the street and see” a lot of people out.

Coronavirus Is Exposing Racial Gaps In NJ, Newark Advocates Say's Eric Kiefer reports

NEWARK, NJ — Gov. Phil Murphy needs to take a deeper look at racial data as the new coronavirus spreads throughout New Jersey. The results might reveal some serious gaps in the Garden State's social safety net, according to a Newark-based social justice group.

Earlier this week, New Jersey Institute for Social Justice (NJISJ) and its partners with the United Black Agenda sent a letter to Murphy, claiming that the COVID-19 pandemic is causing earthquakes in communities of color across the state.

According to the coalition, "structural racism" that existed long before the viral outbreak is likely to cause a disproportionate amount of sickness and death in black and Latina/Latino communities.

The NJISJ offered some examples to back up the coalition's claim in their letter.