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New Jerseyans share their stories and ideas about our democracy.

New Jersey's Democracy Conversation

In spring 2022, the New Jersey Council for the Humanities collected hundreds of responses from individuals throughout the state as part of our Democracy Conversation Project. Via both an online form and "ballot boxes" located at partner sites throughout the state, New Jerseyans provided their thoughts in response to four questions about our democracy:

  • What are the main challenges facing democracy today?
  • What do you remember about the first time you voted?
  • What does it mean to be a good citizen?
  • Why is voting important to you?

Responses were accepted in written, audio, video, and visual formats. They were compiled and displayed in interactive format on this page, below. Responses can be filtered by age of the respondent (when provided), as well as keyword tag, question prompt, and response type.

Visualizing Democracy Commissions

In summer 2023, NJCH announced the commissions of two projects aiming to explore, analyze, and visualize the responses in new and interactive ways. Commissions were awarded in response to a call for proposals.

What does it mean to be a good citizen?

The first project, above, is a brief animated video exploring the themes found in responses to the question "What does it mean to be a good citizen?" The video was created by filmmaker April Merl of South Orange.

The Misinformation Newspaper

Misinformation Newspaper

The second project, above, is a digital newspaper expounding on DCP responses related to misinformation as a challenge to democracy. It was created by artist and educator Melody Marshall of Woodbury.

All Responses

Filters

“The Republican Party has gone down a rabbit hole”

Anonymous , 75
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“Things change drastically between parties”

Linda , 71
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“Those who want to deny others the right to vote”

Anonymous
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“Loyalty towards a party rather than majority’s wellbeing”

Aliya , 60
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“An authoritarian party”

Peter , 58
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“The polarization of our bipartisan system”

Eve , 25
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“Both parties constantly vetoing and stalling progressive ideals”

Jonathan , 25
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“Both parties blame each other”

Syed , 55
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“I was happy to see that New York State had a Right to Life party”

Lisa , 60
What do you remember about the first time you voted?

“one party that is totalitarian”

Laura , 62
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“democracy won’t survive”

Hossein , 22
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“The people who make the rules are a panel made up of Democrats and Republicans”

Fred , 71
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“Threats of violence as acceptable methods to accomplish their goals”

Maryann , 67
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“There were party levers”

James , 51
What do you remember about the first time you voted?

At NJCH, we believe that everyone should have access to humanities programming. Based on your organization and desired topics/formats, we offer programs—often subsidized by our federal and corporate funding—so that you can bring high quality humanities programs to your audiences.