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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

“Keep bad actors out of positions”

Trenton citizens
Why is voting important to you?

“Using our voice as our power”

Trenton citizens
Why is voting important to you?

“Voting truly does effect the community”

Anonymous , 18
Why is voting important to you?

“The Republican Party has gone down a rabbit hole”

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

“There seems to be an effort towards autocracy”

Anonymous , 80
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“Power in choosing our government”

Anonymous
Why is voting important to you?

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

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

“the enforcement arm”

Kenneth , 33
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“To make the change one believes in”

Ekta , 45
Why is voting important to you?

“Erosion of the idea of public good”

Ekta , 45
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“They forget to reply to their constituents needs”

Pamela ,
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“They want to divide Americans”

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

“Extreme positioning to activate their base”

Anonymous
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“Unless you’re a straight, cisgender, white man your voice is rarely heard”

Michael , 29
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“Narcissism in the general population”

Rachel , 42
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“The first time I voted was in 1960 – for John F. Kennedy”

Howard
What do you remember about the first time you voted?

“Even if my side doesn’t succeed, I want to try”

Emma , 37
Why is voting important to you?

“Divided nation”

Dhwani , 18
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“Good people in power”

Dhwani , 18
Why is voting important to you?

“White nationalistic fascist conservatives”

Kyra , 20
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“Lack of diversity in power”

Melanie , 18
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

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.