Social Justice Challenge competition: entries open till Oct 16

social justice wordleThe Social Justice Challenge (SJC) is a student competition initiative that allows students the opportunity to generate ideas for innovative projects that respond to significant social justice issues currently affecting youth and young adult populations and compete for seed funding to launch and/or expand their ideas.

Any organized activity intended to address a social justice issue affecting youth and young adults will be considered for the award. (Please note: At least one member of each student team must be affiliated with either a Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) member program or an Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) member program). read more

Disturbing inequity of the School-to-Prison-Pipeline (short video)

Unhappy facts about the school to prison pipeline, which Brave New Films describes as “..another way the United States incarcerates more people than any other country on earth.*”

  • Zero tolerance policy doesn’t apply to everyone equally.
  • Blacks and Latinos are 29% of public school students but “are 70% of in-school arrests or referrals to law enforcement.”
  • 32% of youth in special detention are special needs students.
  • * From NAACP Criminal Justice Fact Sheet: Combining the number of people in prison and jail with those under parole or probation supervision, 1 in every 31 adults, or 3.2% of the (USA) population is under some form of correctional control. read more

    How equity differs from equality

    equity v. equality graphic

    equity v. equality graphicEquality and equity may once have been completely interchangeable terms but in law and as pertains to social justice matters, they are not the same any longer. Equity speaks to making allowances for handicaps created by historic, economic or racially based lack of access in order to level the playing field for everyone. Equality is the goal of equity considerations: by giving a leg up to the underserved, we hope to become a society where all are truly equal.

    Oxford Dictionary defines equity as “A branch of law that developed alongside common law in order to remedy some of its defects in fairness and justice, formerly administered in special courts.” read more

    Book: Reign of Error by Diane Ravitch

    Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools by Diane Ravitch
    Category: Social Justice, Education
    Diane Ravitch & Reign of Error
    In the days that Diane Ravitch was U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education in the administration of George H. W. Bush, she drank lots of Kool Aide and believed strenuously that destroying public education was good for students of color and poor kids. But one day the veil was lifted from her eyes. She understood the error of her previous thinking, and did a complete about face to become the country’s most visible and high-profile champion of public education. I’m a Diane fan and now, you can be too! Read her book and her blog. read more

    Attend info session for NJ’s non-violent fugitive Safe Surrender program

    Fugitive_Surrender foto imgTwo information sessions for November’s Fugitive Safe Surrender program are being held 6:30-8:30pm on Thursday, Oct. 17 in Hackensack and Tuesday, Oct. 22 in Paterson, NJ. Faith workers, community and re-entry advocates, criminal justice students and attorney volunteers will want to attend a session to learn directly from experts handling the program, what it can do for non-violent offender law fugitives. Volunteer needs and opportunities will also be discussed. Law and criminal justice student volunteers will gain valuable insights into the legal system and CE credits will be issued to attorney volunteers. read more

    Irish President Higgins Tells Tea Partier Off

    Short version of audio interview

    In this 2010 interview, Irish President Michael D. Higgins – then labor party leader – takes Megyn Kelly to task for attempting to spread Tea Party lies. President Higgins says, “(Your) tactic is to get a large crowd, whip them up, try and discover what is the greatest fear, work on that, and feed it right back in a frenzy.” He speaks of living and working in the United States in the 1970s in “Willie Nelson country,” and being astonished to discover that many decent, hard working Americans, the type of people, “…who are very proud, as they should be, of the man (Obama) they’ve elected president…” and continues read more

    Recommended reading: my favorite books

    Beyond the Messy Truth

    Friend and iconic politician Jack Drakeford dies at age 75

    I just learned that the man who came very close to being my stepfather when I was a girl, passed away early this morning (Aug 2) at Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck. No wonder all day long I’ve felt a powerful sense of loss all that I wasn’t able to shake off. In all the world, Jack Drakeford is one of the people whose presence in my life has most touched me, and whose friendship I have most valued.

    Who was the towering man with soulful eyes and a huge bear hug always ready for his favorite friends? Jack Drakeford was champion of the new Jersey Black community, friend and mentor of young people preparing to take flight into the world, lover of iHop, speaker of truth, formidable politician and a man possessed of an extraordinary grasp of the struggle for racial and social justice in the United States and what it takes to build the rights that make equality happen. And an amazing friend. read more

    Bald eagle symbolizes GOOD government

    Friend and civil rights attorney Bennet D. Zurofsky wrote on Facebook today in response to this picture,

    I saw this posted on Facebook this morning and found its irony overwhelming.

    The bald eagle would likely be extinct right now if the government had not imposed strict environmental regulations against DDT and other poisons that were killing them off. The government also greatly increased the protection of bald eagles by declaring them an endangered species and by engaging in a wide variety of programs to both conserve and increase their population and habitat. If I were a bald eagle, therefore, I most certainly would trust the government. read more

    Wisconsin’s movement turned political. Then got lost.

    Black Agenda Report managing editor Bruce A. Dixon in his article, “Wisconsin: What Happens When Movements Turn Into Campaigns” gives us plenty of food for thought. He explains the difference between a campaign and a movement, and why we were pretty much slated to lose the battle in Wisconsin for rights once that movement’s momentum morphed from demands for social change into electioneering.

    How did we get from hundreds of thousands in the streets of Madison, Wisconsin demanding union rights for everybody and fundamental economic justice for all, to a desultory set of Democratic campaigns for the candidates who, as they say, sucked the least, and ended up losing. read more

    Support ban on prison-based gerrymandering in NJ

    The Integrated Justice Alliance (IJA) requests the help of New Jersey’s social justice community to assist in, “righting a wrong in New Jersey commonly referred to as Prison Based Gerrymandering (PBG)”. This practice is outlawed in several states and New Jersey State Sen. Sandra Cunningham (D) has sponsored Senate Bill S-1055 to make this unethical practice illegal in our state too.

    S-1055 requires incarcerated individuals to be counted at their residential address for legislative redistricting purposes. The current practice of PBG permits the communities that house prisons to claim inmates as residents of their town. This allows those municipalities to lay claim to funds which might otherwise flow into inmates’ home communities and benefit their families. It also skews the fundamental democratic principle of one man, one vote, on which our country’s political system is based – as New Jersey prison inmates are not allowed to vote during the term of their incarceration. read more

    Early Lessons In Justice and Economics – at Foodtown

    When I was a pretty young kid growing up in Englewood, New Jersey, Foodtown supermarket was the store that my mom used one day to teach me about a few important life issues. Mom always kept a shopping list going in the kitchen. One of the times her list had gotten pretty long and we were out running other errands in town, Mom stopped by the Foodtown which was located about a mile from our home and asked me to run in and purchase a couple of items for her. “I forgot there was a grocery store so near our home, Mom. We always shop somewhere else. Why don’t you park and we can go buy all of the items on your list?” I wanted to know. read more

    Seton Hall Law files immigrant abuse suit against Feds

    Seton Hall Law School’s Center for Social Justice and Lowenstein Sandler, PC, filed suit today in federal court, alleging that federal law enforcement officials violated the ten victims’ constitutional privacy and due process rights under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments by entering their homes without consent or a judicial warrant during pre-dawn “raids”.

    . . . immigration agents forced their way into each plaintiff’s home in the early hours of the morning without a judicial warrant or the occupants’ consent. Most of the plaintiffs were awakened by loud pounding on their doors and answered the door, fearing an emergency. ICE agents subsequently either lied about their identity or purpose to gain entry, or simply shoved their way into the home. During each raid the agents swept through the house and, displaying guns, rounded up all the residents for questioning. In some cases they ordered children out of their beds, shouted obscenities, shoved guns into residents’ chests, and forbade detained individuals from calling their lawyers. In at least half the raids, the officers purported to be searching for a person who did not even live at the address raided. read more