On June 19th, 1865, enslaved Black Americans in Galveston, Texas, took their first step toward freedom.
This #Juneteenth, as we celebrate the end of the physical chains which once held Black Americans down, we cannot ignore the chains of systemic racism.
In New Jersey, we’re breaking those chains – through justice reform, gun safety, health care, housing, environmental protection, and increasing access to the ballot box – to advance the fight for true equality and end a generational cycle of injustice.
Over the past year, we implemented sweeping changes to our justice system – historic adult-use cannabis reform, a first-of-its-kind use-of-force policy, sentencing reform, new body camera requirements, the criminalization of false, race-based 9-1-1 calls, and more.
We’re leading the fight against senseless gun violence – a crisis that unequally impacts our Black and Brown communities. In April, we unveiled a new gun safety package because we won’t rest until every New Jerseyan, in every community, is safe from this danger.
We’re eliminating racial disparities in health care. Through our community-based vaccine sites and our “Grateful for the Shot” initiative, we’re ensuring equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine.
We’re rooting out racial discrimination in housing. Just yesterday, I signed legislation barring landlords from asking about criminal history on housing applications in most instances.
In September 2020, we signed the nation’s strongest environmental justice measure – helping end a decades-old imposition of pollutants on our Black and Brown communities.
And we’re expanding access to the ballot box – with early voting, automatic voter registration, online voter registration, and the restoration of voting rights for individuals on probation or parole.
As we commemorate Juneteenth, let's recommit to finally living up to our nation’s highest ideals. To achieve full justice and equality for all.
Let's remain resolute in our fight for justice to ensure that the pain of yesterday, and the pain of today, does not become the pain of tomorrow.
- Governor Phil Murphy