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Juneteenth March and Rally in Newark to Call for Passage of Pending Legislation Creating a Reparations Task Force in NJ

The Juneteenth march and rally in Newark begins at noon at the Lincoln Statue and ends at City Hall

This year, New Jersey will celebrate Juneteenth as a state holiday for the first time.

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, has been a tradition in the United States for more than 150 years, and marks the day on June 19, 1865 when enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas finally learned about their freedom – more than two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.

The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice holds a Juneteenth march and rally in Newark today (Saturday) June 19 to call for passage of pending legislation that would create a Reparations Task Force in New Jersey.

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Doug Doyle/Zoom
New Jersey Institute for Social Justice's Ryan Haygood chats with WBGO's Doug Doyle about Saturday's Juneteenth march and rally in Newark

Ryan Haygood, the President and CEO of the NJISJ, joined WBGO's Doug Doyle via Zoom to talk about the day's events.

Haygood says today, even as we rightfully celebrate that freedom, the Institute is keenly aware, this past year more than ever, that America is still very much living the legacy of slavery.

Haygood says people don't often think of New Jersey of a place where slavery took root.

"But it did. It took root very very deeply. So deeply as you know today black people in our state confront some of the worst racial disparities in every direction, in the area of health as we realize more acutely in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, in the area of criminal justice as recognized most recently around policing and youth justice, in the area of wealth. You know in New Jersey, although it's one of the wealthiest states in the country, it's also a state where that wealth travels alongside to really punishing poverty."

Haygood stresses that right here in New Jersey, where we have one of the widest racial wealth gaps in America. New Jersey’s white residents boast a median net wealth of $106,210, compared to a jaw-dropping $179 for Black and Latina/o residents.

Today's march begins at noon at the Lincoln statue and will end at City Hall in Newark. Several politicians will be speaking including Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver, U.S. Senator Cory Booker, Congressional Representatives Bonnie Watson Coleman and Donald Payne, Jr. and state legislators. They'll be joined by multi-faith clergy and powerful advocates from across the state.

Masking and social distancing will be observed.

You can see the entire interview with Ryan Haygood at https://fb.watch/6dxOfJRRhD/.

Doug Doyle has been News Director at WBGO since 1998 and has taken his department to new heights in coverage and recognition. Doug and his staff have received more than 200 awards from organizations like PRNDI, AP, New York Association of Black Journalists, Garden State Association of Black Journalists and the New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists.