New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and Partners to Hold #94Percent Follow-Up Meeting on Saturday at First Bethel A.M.E. Church in Paterson
Focus Will Be Upcoming Legislative and Programmatic Action
Newark, NJ – On Saturday, February 16, the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and its partners (Rutgers Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Campus Center; New Jersey Black Issues Convention; NAACP New Jersey State Conference; Salvation and Social Justice; New Jersey Association of Black Women Lawyers; and Fair Share Housing Center) will hold a community meeting to strategize an action plan for the #94Percent movement to uplift Black residents in New Jersey. The meeting will serve as a follow-up to the Rally for the #94Percent on October 27, 2018 when, despite a nor’easter, hundreds of people showed up to call on Governor Phil Murphy to be accountable to the 94 percent of Black voters who elected him.
With all 80 New Jersey Assembly member seats up for election this November, the upcoming meeting will focus largely on calling for legislative action to transform New Jersey’s youth justice system; restore the right to vote to people with criminal convictions; and close the racial wealth gap in New Jersey. Related programmatic efforts will also be discussed.
Saturday’s event will feature a number of speakers including New Jersey Senator Sandra Cunningham, New Jersey Assemblywoman Shavonda E. Sumter, and Paterson Mayor André Sayegh, as well as break-out workshop groups that will allow for community input and discussion around next steps for action. The meeting will occur at First Bethel A.M.E. Church in Paterson, the church site where Martin Luther King, Jr. appeared on March 27, 1968 to raise awareness for the Poor People’s Campaign. Dr. King was assassinated eight days later.
WHAT: Follow-Up Meeting for the #94Percent Movement
WHEN: Saturday, February 16, 2019, 11 AM – 1:00 PM
WHERE: First Bethel A.M.E. Church, 2 Auburn Street, Paterson, NJ
The meeting will focus, specifically, on the following:
- Youth Justice: In New Jersey, a Black child is 30 times more likely to be incarcerated than a white child – the highest disparity in the nation. Andrea McChristian, Director of the Institute’s Criminal Justice Reform Initiative, will outline the Institute’s current campaign work to transform New Jersey’s youth justice system—both inside and outside of the recently created youth justice task force. Assemblywoman Shavonda E. Sumter will then announce her commitment to fixing this broken system.
- Restoring Voting Rights: New Jersey denies the vote to nearly 100,000 people who are in prison, on probation, or on parole. Half of those individuals are Black, though Black people comprise just 15 percent of the State’s overall population. Henal Patel, Associate Counsel at the Institute, will lead a discussion on the status of the voting rights restoration legislation (S-2100/A-3456), and outline how the public can assist in ensuring this historic legislation is passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor.
- Eliminating the Racial Gap: In New Jersey, the median net worth for white families is $271,402 – the highest in the nation – while the median net worth for a Black family is just $5,900. Demelza Baer, Director of the Institute’s Economic Mobility Initiative, will discuss the Institute’s upcoming work to close the racial wealth gap and promote economic opportunity for low-income residents through matched savings accounts and housing policy to expand both homeownership and government investments in communities of color.