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Informed Citizens

are Better Citizens

Respect’s spring 2024 issue contains articles on reparations for slavery, divisive concept laws and jury reform in New Jersey. A PDF of  the spring issue can be downloaded or individual articles can be read and printed from Respect’s blog, The Rundown.

Any questions, contact the editor of Respect, Jodi L. Miller. She can be reached via email at jmiller@njsbf.org.

Here are the headlines from the spring 2024 issue:

Reparations for Slavery at a Crossroads

How best to make reparations for America’s nearly 250 years of slavery and its remnants has been debated since all enslaved people were emancipated in 1865. Reparations can take many forms, including direct monetary payments, financial assistance for education, funding to start a business, or purchase a home, as well as land grants, social service benefits and formal apologies.

For instance, after the Civil War, the formerly enslaved were promised 40 acres of land (some also received mules) as part of a wartime order from General William Sherman. The day before his second inauguration, President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill that made the order official.  READ MORE

Addressing Bias in New Jersey’s Jury System

One of the guarantees of the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is the right of the accused to be tried by an impartial jury.

According to a video on juror impartiality produced by the New Jersey Courts, “The fairness of a jury’s verdict depends on the impartiality of the jurors who serve.” In 2021, the New Jersey State Supreme Court decided the case of State of New Jersey v. Andujar, which raised concerns about explicit and implicit bias in the jury system—among judges, attorneys, and potential jurors. The case prompted the court to call for reforms.  READ MORE

Threading the Information Needle with Divisive Concept Laws

The history of the United States is complex with many highs and lows in its nearly 250 years. How and what to teach of that history is sparking debates across the country.

According to the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit research institute, 18 states have passed policies or laws that restrict what teachers are allowed to teach as of January 2023. Labeled “divisive concepts laws,” they focus mainly on how issues of race and gender are taught in K-12 schools.  READ MORE

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