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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

“Have a voice in who represents you”

Anonymous
Why is voting important to you?

“An informed individual”

Avery
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“Combat patriarchy”

Christine and Asala
Why is voting important to you?

“If you don’t vote – decisions happen to you not with you”

Anonymous
Why is voting important to you?

“Educated in the history of our republic”

Gerald
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“make democracy happy”

Idannis
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“Every vote matters”

Herb , 68
Why is voting important to you?

“It gets your voice out there”

Gus , 18
Why is voting important to you?

“To be present in the process of living in democracy”

Erjana , 18
Why is voting important to you?

“Voting can impact our laws and very way of life”

Megan , 19
Why is voting important to you?

“It gives the people a voice”

Yejin , 20
Why is voting important to you?

“I want my right to a representative in office”

Gabrielle , 18
Why is voting important to you?

“I want to make my choices and voice heard”

Eva , 18
Why is voting important to you?

“Doesn’t represent all the voices”

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

“Your voice is being heard”

Shane , 18
Why is voting important to you?

“It allows for people to have their voice heard”

Sharika , 17
Why is voting important to you?

“I want my voice to be heard”

Julie , 50
Why is voting important to you?

“Holding people accountable”

Sharika , 17
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“Don’t always listen”

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

“It means that I have a voice in my community”

Swathi , 18
Why is voting important to you?

“It allows me to express my opinion with no judgement”

Gabriella , 18
Why is voting important to you?

“Being heard and making an impact”

Amy , 18
Why is voting important to you?

“Your voice is heard”

Sharika , 17
What do you remember about the first time you voted?

“thankful to have my voice heard”

Ann Marie , 69
Why is voting important to you?

“my opinion/voice is heard”

Amelia , 38
Why is voting important to you?

“I was helping shape the course of our country”

Kasey , 24
What do you remember about the first time you voted?

“I’m seen and heard”

Quincy , 21
Why is voting important to you?

“candidates who…represent the interests of all of us”

Patricia , 19
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“contribute to the fabric of democracy”

Claire , 60
Why is voting important to you?

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.