MLK Day 55 Years After His NJ Visit

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MLK Day 55 Years After His NJ Visit

Dear New Jersey Institute for Social Justice friend,

Fifty-five years ago this March, just eight days before his assassination, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. visited Newark to promote the Poor People’s Campaign, the final phase in his fight for racial justice.

Dr. King knew that achieving freedom required economic justice.

But as we mark Dr. King’s 94th birthday this coming weekend, even with much progress behind us, economic justice remains illusory for too many in Newark – as well as the entire state of New Jersey and the nation.

Though New Jersey is one of the wealthiest states in America, it is also home to one of the largest racial wealth gaps in the country: a $300,000 disparity between household wealth for Black and white families.

Just as we have Two Americas, we have Two New Jerseys.

As the Institute strives to Make the Two New Jerseys One, we are focused on Dr. King’s quote: “Power, properly understood, is the ability to achieve purpose. It is the strength required to bring about social, political or economic changes.”

To us, this means that Advocacy is Power – and it is the road to racial justice.

That’s why just this week we signed onto a U.S. Supreme Court brief urging the Court to uphold President Biden’s student debt relief program. The Institute has long advocated for relief from crippling student loan debt which often impacts young people of color.

Thank you for partnering with us in the fight for economic justice – and also to strengthen our fragile democracy and to address the deep-rooted discrimination in our criminal justice system.

Please join us in making this Dr. Martin Luther King Day celebration meaningful by:

  • Listening to my MLK Day speech at a Newark YMCA event starting Friday, Jan. 13 at 8 a.m. by going to the Institute’s Facebook page.
  • Joining a local opportunity to participate in an event or service, including at here, here, and here.
  • Joining our advocacy by taking action at our Action Center.

We are very grateful to Jersey Cares for contributing some of the proceeds of their events to the Institute.


Ryan P. Haygood

President & CEO, New Jersey Institute for Social Justice