The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice is monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic closely, including its impact on the communities we advocate for every day.
We recognize that as the current pandemic impacts all of us as a public health crisis, it is also a social and racial justice one.
That public health crises always expose the cracks in society’s safety net.
And that those cracks cause earthquakes in Black and Brown communities.
Already during the current crisis, millions of people have lost their jobs. Even as families shelter at home, kids are required to return to their schools daily for food – and too many of these kids don’t have laptops at home for online classes.
Many in our youth and adult prisons, who are overwhelmingly Black and Brown, are deprived of the basic necessities they need to keep themselves safe.
And we face the threat that participating in the Census and upcoming elections will be more difficult for the most vulnerable among us.
The Institute is working double time to address these issues in real time.
We urged everyone to use this time to make sure they are counted by filling out the Census form online or by phone.
We urged New Jersey to expand vote-by-mail, and it did. We asked Gov. Murphy to take robust steps to make sure our upcoming elections are accessible to all. And we have asked the Governor to release incarcerated youth living in closed quarters and at risk.
Especially in this difficult moment, our work to fill these cracks and build reparative systems, policies, and practices that create access to work and wealth, transform justice, and harness democratic power for people of color in New Jersey is more important than ever.
As all of America – and New Jersey – are impacted by this public health crisis, we find ourselves preparing for how it might affect our already besieged communities – communities who already lack necessary investment and resources, and will need more.
The Institute is committed to standing with New Jersey, including its Black and Brown communities, to fight for lasting, reparative investment – now and going forward.
Whatever the case, we will be there.
The power of community is endless. If we come together as a community, even as we physically distance, we will summon our best collective selves and get through this together.
We wish everyone good health and safety, and encourage our communities to follow the guidelines and keep abreast of the latest information at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NJ’s COVID-19 Information Hub, and NJ Department of Health.