A Letter to the Community

June 1, 2020

This morning was a particularly beautiful one in New Jersey. Sadly, it comes amidst deep pain, fear, and anguish in communities across our state and country.

We at the Community Foundation of New Jersey are heartbroken by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the many senseless deaths that have preceded it. The racism and violence that persists in too many of our communities is a stirring reminder of the work in front of us.

George Floyd’s death was met with righteous anger at a system that has failed too many, and it has triggered protests the world over. We take heart that protests over the weekend in Newark, Paterson, Camden, and Englewood were largely peaceful events. We are also inspired by Camden Police Chief Joseph Wysocki who helped lead the way in Camden’s protest march.

This moment of heightened anxiety ultimately calls for renewed commitment among New Jersey’s critical institutions to racial equity. We remain proud of our work to reform New Jersey’s juvenile justice system – which has long disproportionately impacted African American youth – and to expand educational and nutritional opportunities in our state’s lowest-income communities, but we know that inequities run far too deep to claim success. There is much more work ahead of us.

Our communities have always responded to crises, such as natural disasters and this COVID-19 pandemic, with enormous generosity. What is so challenging now, is to bring the same urgency to a problem that is so deeply rooted and frustratingly intractable. We are searching for effective ways to respond to this moment and we welcome your input and ideas. We know we must stand together and support partners in the community working to create and sustain a more just, equal, and fair future for us all.

Thank you for all you have done and will do to strengthen New Jersey’s communities in partnership with the Community Foundation of New Jersey.