Leaders Must Address Policy Violence Against People of Color & Poor Communities

Words without action can’t fix the problems we're facing.

Published on Aug 16, 2017

America’s strength – and New Jersey’s strength in particular – is inextricably linked to its diversity. New Jersey’s leaders must clearly and unequivocally reject hatred like the neo-Nazism and white supremacy that was so vividly on display this weekend in Charlottesville – and we applaud those on both sides of the political aisle who have done so.

While condemning this physical violence is a must, so is confronting – and working to end – a deeper violence: the policy violence and structural racism that is waged against New Jerseyans of color and poor communities across the state. Public policies have helped to create and sustain many of the deep problems and economic injustices that our society faces today. And public policies can help to solve these problems.

Lawmakers and political leaders must build on our state and nation’s greatest strength – our diversity – to actively make change, foster equal opportunity and build a more just state. They can start by advancing policies to reform a tax code that disproportionately helps wealthy, whiter New Jerseyans; improve the economic security of low-income families (of which so many are people of color); and prudently invest in policies and programs that boost the short- and long-term economic prospects of families trying to climb the broken ladder into the middle class.

Statements that condemn the hatred of white supremacy are important, but words without action can’t fix the public policies and laws that harm the poor and communities of color, and perpetuate inequity and injustice.

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