March on Washington Anniversary Policy Forum





Nearly 150 community leaders and clergy from congregations and civic organizations from across Essex, Union, Passaic, and surrounding counties gathered at St. Paul Baptist Church in Montclair Thursday, August 25 to celebrate the March on Washington and to demand action today on its yet unmet demands.

Keynote speaker, Rev. Dr. Willie D. Francois said ending school segregation was the 1st and 3rd demand of the 1963 march, “…and yet here we are”, said Pastor Francois, “these 6 decades later..., in this liberal state - one of the wealthiest in the country - and we’re having to have conversations about how children don’t have to be trapped in pockets of airtight poverty and racial exclusion?” Francois blamed “political inaction and cowardice”. “This is not just about diversity” he said “it’s about opportunity…, this is about power."  

Hosted by St. Paul Senior Pastor Dr. Bernadette Glover and moderated by Dr. Terry Richardson,  of first Baptist Church in South Orange, the post Covid capacity crowd responded with shouts of “Amen!” and "that Ain't Right!” to the powerful message.  

The group did more than preach, agitate, and inspire. The clergy and community coalition (a part of Building One America and the NJ Coalition Against Racial Exclusion NJ-CARE) presented a detailed list of specific legislative actions and called on Governor Murphy and legislators to enact policies aimed at dismantling the “opportunity destroying and stigmatizing scourge of school segregation” without delay.

Senator Joseph P. Cryan and Assemblywoman Mila M. Jasey, the co-chairs of the Legislative Joint Committee on The Public Schools committed to work with the group and advance their initiatives in the New Jersey General Assembly this fall. Jasey was also representing the Legislative Black Caucus as its Education Chair.

Dozens of leaders handed in cards vowing to continue the fight and to participate in upcoming hearings and organizing activity. “We will reconvene” declared Pastor Dana Owens of Messiah Baptist Church in East Orange “we will gather momentum – we shall trouble the waters”. In the coming weeks, next steps for organizing and action will be announced as more leaders are clergy are joining the fight. 

 Click here for the program and powerpoint from August 25

August 25 Program

March on Washington Anniversary Policy Forum - August 25, 7PM

North Jersey Legislative Policy Forum on School Segregation & Opportunity

August, 2022 marks the 59th Anniversary of Great March on Washington.

Of the 10 demands made at the 1963 March, the 1st and the 3rd demand called for the immediate desegregation of America's public schools. Today, as we enter our 6th decade since the March (and 7 decades since Brown v Board was filed), schools in New Jersey have become some of the most segregated in the nation – more segregated than almost any state of the former confederacy. [1]   

This was not by accident. It was result of deliberate policies that are still in place today and still segregating our children by both race and poverty and denying them equal opportunity to a decent life.

On Thursday, August 25th, we will convene a powerful gathering of community, faith, education and labor leaders along with parents, policy makers and elected officials. The purpose will be to review and react to current and proposed legislation aimed at reversing those policies that drive segregation and repairing the damage it has inflicted on children, families, and communities.

We will be joined by key policy makers including those who have introduced and supported legislation as well as experts and practitioners in the field of education and civil rights including host Rev. Dr. Bernadette Glover and Co-Chair Rev. Dr. Willie D. Francois along with (invited) Assemblywoman Mila Jasey, Legislative Black Caucus Chair Shavonda Sumter and Senator Joe Cryan.  Register here to attend this event. 



[1] Among the states that rebelled against the Union, only Texas is more segregated than New Jersey today.

Clone of Clergy, Faith and Community Leaders Against Racial Segregation

Join us for a Zoom meeting for updates and next action steps in our struggle for Freedom, Justice, and Opportunity

Tuesday, June 28, 1:00 PM


Last month, our coalition celebrated a major win in the fight against racial segregation with the Acting Commissioner's denial of the Absecon secession petition. We must now press ahead to see that statewide reforms are enacted that will reverse and repair the damage of school segregation across the state.

Join us for a conversation about progress that's been made and action plans proposed to keep up the momentum as we engage the Governor and legislative leadership around a transfomative agenda for racial juctice and opportunity for all New Jersey students.



Sign up here to register for this meeting.





Civil Rights Action Monday in Atlantic City - Meet at 12 Noon Borgata

Join us Monday, July 18 to hand deliver a letter to Kristen Clarke, the U.S. Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights notifying of her of our intent to request an investigation into the civil rights violations being committed by the state of New Jersey against the children being forced to attend segregated schools. We are meeting at the Borgata Hotel and Casino at 12 Noon at the Borgata Baking Co. near the self park entrance. Go here if you would like to join us. We know this is late notice for some but many of us will be in AC for the NAACP convention. 

U.S. Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke to Address 113th NAACP National Convention

Go here to see letter to US Assisant U.S. Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke

Go here to see the letter to Derrick Johnson asking him to uninvite Governor Phil Murphy to the NAACP Convention

Warden Smith Does Not Speak for Us

Governor Murphy Should Be Uninvited to the NAACP Convention

...I do not savor your sacred assemblies. Though you offer me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them, nor will I regard your fattened peace offerings. But let justice run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream! Amos 5:22-27

When America's preeminent civil rights organization holds its national convening in our state, its delegates should expect to see justice and righteousness proudly displayed. But where there is injustice, racism, and wickedness it too must be visible so it can be exposed and defied – not swept under the rug!

In New Jersey (and Atlantic City where the NAACP convention will be held) a multitude of injustices are committed daily against poor and working-class parents, employees, students...even prison inmates.

Despite its “progressive” reputation, New Jersey is one of the most shockingly separate and shamefully unequal places in America. Its schools are among the nation’s most segregated. It has one of the worst racial wealth gaps in the country with Atlantic City ranking highest in income inequality. And New Jersey has the highest rate of racial disparities in its prison population, with Black residents incarcerated at a rate of 12.5 times that of whites. 

We want all NAACP delegates to enjoy their stay as they recommit to their organization’s historic mission to fight injustice and promote opportunity. But the national NAACP cannot simply ignore grotesque disparities and civil rights violations being tolerated (or worsened) by employers, elected officials, even NAACP officials in the host state.

The New Jersey Coalition Against Racial Exclusion (part of Building One America and the Summit for Civil Rights) has been fighting to end the intense segregation of our public schools. But Governor Murphy feels no need to act on this critical civil rights issue. Repeated overtures over the past 3 years including letters, public meetings, and demonstrations have not swayed him to even meet with our leadership.

NJ-CARE had no choice but to call on State Conference President Richard Smith, to uninvite Governor Murphy to the NAACP National Convention. We are fully aware of the Governor’s history with the organization including as a board member and major donor. But there must come a point when no amount of money or influence should grant immunity to the powerful for their continued inaction against injustices exacted against the powerless.

Sadly, President Smith refused our request preferring to drape the cloak of civil rights on a Governor who has only fought integration while worsening segregation. But Warden Smith does not have the final say on civil rights in New Jersey…you do!  

Sign-on to a letter to NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson and Board. Tell them that Richard Smith does not speak for you or for the million children attending segregated schools in our state. Ask them to uninvite Phil Murphy and remind him of his pledge to the NAACP and allegiance to its principles - especially to oppose school segregation.

We are thrilled the NAACP decided to come to our state but not because of the business or even the prestige it will bring. We want the NAACP to bring all its awesome influence and all its enormous moral authority so that, together, we can unleash the powerful waters of justice throughout this state and send a mighty wave of righteousness across this nation.

Clergy, Faith and Community Leaders Against Racial Segregation

Join us for a Zoom meeting for updates and next action steps in our struggle for Freedom, Justice, and Opportunity

Tuesday, June 28, 1:00 PM


Last month, our coalition celebrated a major win in the fight against racial segregation with the Acting Commissioner's denial of the Absecon secession petition. We must now press ahead to see that statewide reforms are enacted that will reverse and repair the damage of school segregation across the state.

Join us for a conversation about progress that's been made and action plans proposed to keep up the momentum as we engage the Governor and legislative leadership around a transfomative agenda for racial juctice and opportunity for all New Jersey students.



Sign up here to register for this meeting.





Leadership Training for Inclusive Communities, June 9 -12, 2022


June 9 through June 12, 2022, Stockton University, Galloway, New Jersey.

Because space is limited, interested individuals must apply to participate in this program.  The application is available online and can be accessed HERE.



Demographic diversity has been increasing throughout American society.  While membership and even leadership in many organizations have reflected this change, power and decision-making often fail to keep up with the racial, ethnic, generational and gender make up of our communities and institutions, including labor unions, local government, and religious congregations. This failure has left us weaker and more easily undermined by those who do not share our values of inclusion and opportunity.

One reason for this persistent power gap is that we too often confuse the visual trappings of diversity with genuine equality and political and economic integration. When members of underrepresented groups secure leadership positions they frequently begin at a significant disadvantage. Generational layers of power, privilege, experience and networks of formal and informal relationships are at play in any public arena where power is wielded and important decisions get made. These dynamics are taken for granted or denied by the powerful, while often unseen or not easily understood by the powerless. We frequently find ourselves in organizations, committees, boards and leadership structures that are diverse in name and appearance, but in reality are decidedly lopsided when it comes to the exercise of power.

As Frederick Douglass famously reminded us, power never did and never will be given away by those who have it to those who don’t.

Building One America’s training does not claim to make people more powerful nor does it create diversity, but it does better equip emerging leaders from diverse and working-class backgrounds to better understand and navigate the dynamics of power and politics and to have the tools to compete effectively and further themselves and their values in the public arena. Moreover, it will help individual leaders to recognize more clearly their own potential and motivations to build a powerful and meaningful public life.

Because space is limited, interested individuals must apply to participate in this program.  The application is available online and can be accessed HERE


Who: This training is for leaders from anywhere who want to become more effective in making a difference – including organizers, leaders and volunteers from the faith community, labor unions, electoral politics, public office holders and grassroots rank-and-file leaders. 

What: The training teaches ordinary people to unleash their capacity to impact the social, political, environmental, and economic decisions affecting their lives. The training has been designed and will be conducted by experienced organizers affiliated with Building One America and the Summit for Civil Rights. The training is unique in combining elements of leadership training developed over the past fifty years by national community organizing networks, with a contemporary analysis and strategy for developing multiracial institutional and social power to build more inclusive and equitable communities.

Topics covered include:

  • An orientation and reflection on power
  • Understanding self-interest as a way to build membership, engage allies and adversaries, and become a more focused and self-motivated leader
  • The role, value, and techniques of one-on-one organizing
  • Conducting and understanding a power analysis
  • Distinguishing the “public” from the “private” in order to build an effective public life
  • The key principles and elements of strategy and tactics and issues and action
  • Identifying and developing leaders
  • The importance of organized money
  • Principles and techniques for effective meetings
  • Personal reflection, strategic planning and developing a personal path to power

The training is not just an intellectual exercise. It challenges and helps experienced leaders and emerging leaders to identify, reflect on, and overcome internalized attitudes and beliefs that stand in the way of becoming more powerful and impactful. The goal is to produce more powerful leaders and to facilitate the expansion of more powerful and more unified multiracial coalitions and structures.

When:  The training will take place over four days starting Thursday, June 9 through Sunday June 12, 2022.

Where: Stocton Universty, Galloway Township Campus, Galloway, NJ

Cost: Tuition plus room and board is $625 per participant for affliaites and sponsoring organizations. 

Because space is limited, interested individuals must apply to participate in this program.  The application is available online and can beaccessed HERE. 










The training institute helped me become a more powerful leader, acting more strategically, efficiently, and decisively, creating greater accountability for myself and others - Eloise Henry, President, Richmond Heights (OH) City CouncilTESTIMONIALS 

 ...a very powerful training. It equipped me with the tools to reinvent myself - Rev. Rohan Hepkins, Mayor, Yeadon, PA

This is the most relevant, intense and productive conference I have ever attended - Heather Sorge, Campaign Organizer, Healthy Schools Now

Despite 40 plus years in politics, I found the 4-day training to be new, useful, and refreshing.  It was helpful in expanding my own political power and in understanding and dealing with others who are exercising theirs. Ant it led to new and significant relationships for me - Dale Miller, Member, Cuyahoga (OH) County Council

Completely caught me by surprise. I thought I knew what being a leader meant, but the training showed me parts of leadership that I knew nothing about. It really helped me with my networking skills and in my new position as President of CWRUs Black Student Union. I’m excited to see what it can do for more people in our community - Aliah Lawson Executive Chair, Black Student Union, Case Western Reserve University

Learned how our stories of powerlessness informs our own path to power. I had great moments of clarity - Ashley Bennett, Freeholder, Atlantic County

It was helpful. Extraordinarily. Thank you! - Tomea Sippio-Smith - Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PA) Education Policy Director

Training was awesome. Confirmation for me as well as new found skills – Alexis Rean-Walker, HPAE, Secretary-Treasurer

 Learned new skills for active listening and relationship development; clearer understanding of power dynamics that drive organizations and elected leaders; deeper understanding of structural causes of inequity and a path to racial integration; and practical steps to develop an inclusive and powerful network that can drive change - Tom Bullock, Member at Large, Lakewood (OH) City Council

Key learning moments were understanding my power, self interest and anger.  Thank you! – Martha Camacho-Rodriguez - Cerritos College, Trustee, Norwalk, CA

I’ve become more confident and feel that I have fully stepped into my leadership role - Safronia Perry, Executive Director, Hope Station (PA) Area Neighborhood Council

 I used to stay in the back of the room, rarely speak, and try to be invisible. The training helped me to find my voice - Darnelle Crenshaw, Student, Case Western Reserve University  

The training did a terrific job encouraging us to reflect on times when we feel powerless, and to consider how those times can help shape how we react to the world and drive us in our work. - Tim Nelson, Vice President, Braham (Minnesota) Evangelical Lutheran Church Council, Chair, Braham (Minnesota) Area Education Foundation

Thank you. The training was awesome – Taylor Picket Stokes, Rescue Mission of Trenton

The training rocked my world and gave me a new roadmap for action. Amazingly intense and perspective-shifting. Great content, compelling examples, helpful exercises and an energized group of participants. - Gary Forman, Trustee and Executive Committee Member, SOMA Action


Take Action Against Racial Segregation

Join us at Cedar Creek High School in Egg Harbor City in our fight for Freedom, Justice, and Opportunity

Monday, April 11, 6:30 PM, Cedar Creek High School in Egg Harbor City - 1701 New York Ave, Egg Harbor City, NJ 08215

We are meeting at the Greater Egg Harbor Regional High School District Board of Education Meeting at Cedar Creek High School in Egg Harbor City, 1701 New York Ave, Egg Harbor City, NJ 08215.

We will gather outside at the North wing parking area (If you are coming from the New York Avenue entrance go left around the building to the covered parking area) and from there we will go together to the meeting.

In 2019 The Greater Egg Harbor Regional High School District Board of Education voted to accept Absecon’s students who are now assigned to Pleasantville, making them a party to Absecon's illegal and immoral effort to secede and further segregate our region.

Absecon’s separation petition is a part of a campaign of illegal secessions taking place across the state where majority white school districts are trying to secede from majority black and brown districts.

The members of the Greater Egg Harbor Regional High School Board of Education may not be aware that they agreed to participate in an illegal and unconstitutional scheme. It will be our job to let them know and to urge them to reverse their unlawful decision.

Sign up here to register for this action.





March Against Racial Segregation

March for Freedom, Justice and Opportunity

Sunday, March 20, 1:30 PM, Starting at Mount Zion Baptist Church, Pleasantville, NJ.

Join us as we march for justice, freedom and opportunity for all our children, Sunday,March 20 at 1:30 pm beginning at Mount Zion Baptist Church, 353 S New Rd, Pleasantville, NJ 08232.

You can sign up here.

Here in New Jersey, we have tolerated levels of racial and economic segregation in our schools not seen since the days of Jim Crow in the South.
Sunday, March 20th, is the 57th anniversary of the start of Dr. King’s historic march from Selma to Montgomery to confront Alabama’s segregationist governor.

It also marks the one year anniversary of the historic march from Pleasantville to Absecon demanding Governor Phil Murphy stop school district secessions and end racial segregation in our schools.

Unfortunately, it also marks one year of being ignored by Governor Murphy while his administration ignores and worsens racial segregation in our schools.

It has been a year in which the pandemic response has served to further expose school segregation while causing a catastrophe of learning loss.

This spring we begin a new offensive of sustained and militant action aimed at pressing our legislators and our governor to give this crisis the attention it deserves.

We will gather at Mt. Zion Baptist Church at 1:30 PM where we will begin the march for Freedom, justice, and Opportunity.


Watch Rev. Willie D. Francois preach against racial segregation and secession in NJ.

Click here for a copy of the flyer