June 17, 2021



Institute Launches Reparations Campaign with Juneteenth Rally and Engagement Tools

With Wide and Diverse Support, Say the Word Campaign Calls for Passage of Legislation for a New Jersey Reparations Task Force


NEWARK — The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice today launched a Say the Word: Reparations campaign calling for passage of S322/A711 to establish a Reparations Task Force in New Jersey.

Over 100 organizations have endorsed the campaign or signed on to a letter to elected officials urging passage of the pending legislation.

“Surprising to many, New Jersey has a substantial and dark history of slavery,” said Ryan Haygood, President & CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice. “A direct line can be drawn from that history to today, when we have some of the worst racial disparities in America. It is time to repair the harm in a deep and lasting way, and reparations must be a part of that. Reparations can look like different kinds of investments in New Jersey’s Black communities, but we must embrace the word and not run from it.”

Despite being a northern state, New Jersey – which has been referred to as the “slave state of the North” – incentivized slavery at our state’s founding, when white settlers received 150 acres of land and were eligible to receive an additional 150 acres for every enslaved person they brought with them. New Jersey had a “slave code” in 1704 prohibiting African Americans from owning property. By 1830, over two-thirds of all enslaved people in the North were held in our state.