Black History Month 2022

United We Stand

In the spirit of Black History Month, LSNJ honors the achievements and contributions of Black Americans and people of the African Diaspora in building and playing a vital role in the furtherance of this state and our nation. Many of those who came before us did so in the face of economic hardship, social inequity, and outright discrimination. They sacrificed to advance the principles of fairness and equality for future generations. How will we honor them?

We continue our mission. For 55 years, Legal Services has been committed to providing access to essential legal aid for people in poverty—including the most vulnerable populations and those with the most severe needs—helping address the recurrent legal problems low-income people face, with an eye towards helping rebuild communities. In so doing, we lift up and incorporate the voices of those we serve.

Our Clients

image of LSNJ client interviewCane: Breaking Barriers and Breaking the Cycle
“I definitely feel like the system was rigged towards me,” says Cane, who was sentenced to three years in prison at the age of 22. With determination, creativity, and family support, he managed to become a successful business owner and respected member of the community despite the felony on his record. Now, he wants to help others like him.

View Cane's Story


image of LSNJ client interview Parent Ally Program Supports Prevention and Prepetition Efforts
Iesha is LSNJ’s first “parent ally,” the first position of its kind in New Jersey. She works with LSNJ’s Family Representation Project to prevent removals resulting from poverty-induced circumstances.

View this article


We draw on those voices to help alight a path towards the eradication of poverty, racism and discrimination and all of their reprehensible effects. Last year, as part of the Melville “De” Miller, Jr. Justice Series, we explored reparations for Black Americans, to help account for centuries of slavery in America and in this state, structural racism and systemic oppression throughout history, resulting in stark inequities for Blacks and people of color.

Reparations Now

image of protestModerated by Akil Roper with panelists Ryan P. Haygood, President and CEO, New Jersey Institute for Social Justice; Crystal Crawford, Executive Director, Western Center on Law and Poverty; Kamilah Moore, Chair, California Reparations Task Force, and Kenya Tyson, Executive Director, The Black Massacre Project and Professor/Assistant Provost of Academic Affairs and University Curriculum, The New School.

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This month, LSNJ embarks on its own educational journey joining with the Shriver Center to engage in an intensive racial justice workshop series to help increase our awareness of racial justice issues, strengthen our representation of communities of color, and help us secure more equitable systems of justice, for all New Jerseyans. To make good on our goal to more effectively and responsibly engage with and serve the community, this work will continue.

According to the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, the theme of this year’s Black History Month is Black Health and Wellness. We encourage you to learn more about Black history, support Black-owned businesses and community organizations, and help promote diversity, community engagement and race equity initiatives in your organizations and networks. We are sharing a few selected texts from our list for Black History Month:

  • Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson
  • Call Us What We Carry, by Amanda Gorman
  • Begin Again, by Eddie Glaude
  • Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson
  • Stamped from the Beginning, Ibram X. Kendi
  • The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
  • The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander
  • Why We Can’t Wait, by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Additional resources

Association for the Study of African American Life and History Virtual Festival Black History Month Programming

New Jersey State Bar 2022 Black History Month Programming

Rutgers University Paul Robeson Cultural Center—Black History Month