Rally for the 94% by the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice
On October 27th, I attended a Rally held at the same church that Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at 50 years ago to the year. Why? For the 94%.
First off, I want to speak as to how the rally was brought to not only my attention, but the attention of the Rutgers Honors Learning Living Community. As the Fall semester commenced with the new cohort of the HLLC, it was evident that every single scholar was eager to put their newly gained knowledge to use and to become a positive change agent by any means. With that being said, come the beginning of October, President of the New Jersey Institute of Social Justice, Counselor Ryan Hagood, came to a class of ours to introduce the initiative that was The Rally For the 94%. You can sense the room was captivated. It was clear that the values the rally was addressing fell directly in line with our passions, from equality in our political economy, to igniting change in our home, Newark, New Jersey. I knew immediately that I wanted to be a part of something so great, so important in our society. And I was not alone. Fellow scholars such as Reed Bryant, Haliey Gonzalez, and Reine Duevi took charge on various fronts in assisting the HLLC’s involvement with the rally, all led by Dean Timothy Eatman. With that being said, I can wholeheartedly, unequivocally say that being a part of the Rally for 94% did not simply assist the logistics of the rally itself, but it impacted us all, those heavily involved and otherwise, tremendously for the better.
As for the rally itself, I believe many of you would be as captivated as that HLLC classroom once was in just a few moments.
On the New Jersey Institute of Social Justice website, you will find a numerous amount of figures that any person would find relevant.
• Ninety-four percent of Black voters cast their ballots for Governor Phil Murphy in 2017. Without this support from the Black community, it is unlikely that Phil Murphy would be New Jersey’s governor. With that being said, elected officials should be held accountable to delivering to not just those that voted them in, but to all.
• A Black child in New Jersey is 30 times more likely to be incarcerated than a white child — the highest disparity rate in America. The median net worth for New Jersey’s white families is $271,402 — the highest in the nation. But the median net worth for New Jersey’s Latino and Black families is just $7,020 and $5,900, respectively.
• New Jersey denies the vote to nearly 100,000 people who are in prison, on parole, or on probation. Half of those denied the right to vote are Black, though Black people comprise just 15 percent of the state’s population.
These are just a few reasons as to why the Rally was held, and it was incredible to see that the rally paid off more than I ever expected it to. The night before the rally, Phil Murphy and his administration signed an executive order creating a task force to address all of the problems listed on the institute’s website. And though there is much work to be done, it was remarkable to see so many people passionately stand up for something that impacts us all daily.
By Mohamed Farge, HLLC Scholar, Cohort ’18