“This refusal to accept the stark reality that race matters is regrettable. The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race, and to apply the Constitution with eyes open to the unfortunate effects of centuries of racial discrimination…” U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor

The Declaration of Independence promotes “justice for all,” yet people of color still face discrimination in this country. Racial bias in our criminal justice system results in significant racial disparities in who is arrested and who is incarcerated. Although it has been more than 60 years since Brown v. Board of Education was decided, our schools remain segregated, and New Jersey has one of the most racially segregated public school systems in the nation. People of color still face discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations. The Stein Public Interest Center represents individuals and organizations in impact litigation and appellate cases that affect communities of color.

On May 17, 2018, the 64th anniversary of the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education, our attorneys, together with co-counsel, filed a lawsuit against the state of New Jersey on behalf of a coalition of civil rights groups and nine children of various racial backgrounds, claiming that persistent racial segregation in New Jersey’s public schools has violated the constitutional rights of hundreds of thousands of New Jersey students. The lawsuit contends that “because educational opportunity is, as a result, undermined for students in schools that are often characterized by intense poverty and social isolation in numerous, well-documented ways, these segregative state laws, policies and practices deny an alarming number of Black and Latino students the benefits of a thorough and efficient education.” The lawsuit reflects a groundbreaking effort that may prove to be among the most important social justice reforms of our time.

Recently, we filed an amicus brief in the New Jersey Supreme Court on behalf of a partner organization addressing the need of people of color who are victims of police brutality to be able to testify candidly about their legitimate fears of law enforcement officers and why they might have refused commands to exit vehicles as a result.


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