NEWARK – The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice today released Repairing the Cracks: How New Jersey Can Restore Black & Brown Communities Ravaged by COVID-19 and Systemic Racism.

The new report explores the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Black and other communities of color in the Garden State, and proposes policies designed to not only address the immediate harm caused by the public health crisis but also create a stronger, more equitable New Jersey going forward.

“Tragically, it is not surprising that New Jersey’s Black and other communities of color have suffered most from the pandemic, given the deep cracks of structural racism in New Jersey’s foundation,” said Andrea McChristian, Law & Policy Director at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice. “Under the stress of a devastating public health crisis, those cracks were bound to erupt into earthquakes.”

COVID-19 was the leading cause of death for Black New Jerseyans in 2020. In Newark, which is nearly half Black, over 850 died from COVID between March 2020 and March 2021, exceeding the death tolls of five states during the same period. New Jersey’s death rate from COVID-19 is the second highest in the nation.

“Repairing the Cracks provides a comprehensive look at New Jersey’s cracks of structural racism which go back to our founding when slavery was incentivized, and which were deepened by racist policies designed to perpetuate oppression when it comes to wealth, housing, mass incarceration, democracy, education and more,” said Laura Sullivan, Director of the Institute’s Economic Justice Program. “From prioritizing equitable vaccine distribution, to transforming our broken youth justice system, to expanding homeownership, to eliminating barriers to voting, to establishing a Reparations Task Force and more, New Jersey must seize this moment to create true reparative justice.

A pdf copy of the report can be found here.