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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

“Help register new voters”

Maddy , 22
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“Help people out”

Holton , 7
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“Doing good deeds”

Yoasi , 8
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“Help the people who are poor”

Ibrahim , 9
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“Kind and loving person who would go out of their way for someone else”

Liliana , 9
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“Standing up for the disenfranchised”

Teri , 61
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“Support your neighbors”

Anonymous , 28
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“Helping others in the smallest of ways can make a huge impact”

Maya , 14
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“Making your community a better place”

Andrea , 11
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“To give back to the community”

Faith , 18
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“Using skills or talents to contribute to society”

Jayden , 18
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“Have some compassion and empathy!”

Tara , 47
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“listen to the voices of the people”

Mike , 16
Why is voting important to you?

“we are dependent upon each other”

Krista , 40
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“do service”

Maria , 51
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“committed to public service”

Ariel , 38
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“The challenge to each of us to *listen*”

Roberta , 56
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.