text

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?

“Be part of the needed change”

Anonymous
Why is voting important to you?

“It is our voice speaking to those in government”

Mari
Why is voting important to you?

“I get to decide who decides for me”

Anonymous
Why is voting important to you?

“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?

“Listen to other points of view”

Sam
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“Put their voice in the room beyond voting’

Anonymous
What does it mean to be a good citizen?

“Honors the ancestors who fought and died for the right”

Sharonda
Why is voting important to you?

“Allows a community to have a say”

Princess
Why is voting important to you?

“Many fought for our rights”

Anonymous
Why is voting important to you?

“We need leaders whose morals and values align with ours”

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?

“Ensure ones country looks out for all of its people”

Anonymous , 18
Why is voting important to you?

“Allows your voice to be heard”

Anonymous , 18
Why is voting important to you?

“Helps around the community”

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

“There must be a good and just leader”

Mackenzie , 18
Why is voting important to you?

“I have a chance to make a change”

Briana , 19
Why is voting important to you?

“Lower income communities and minorities being underrepresented”

Joseph , 17
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“Para que tudos pueden tener si vos escuchado”

William , 21
Why is voting important to you?

“Making a difference”

Emilia , 20
Why is voting important to you?

“I have seen in swing states how important the voice of a group is”

Amanda , 19
Why is voting important to you?

“The right for all citizens to speak their truth”

Tom , 68
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“God given right of being a good citizen”

Linda , 71
Why is voting important to you?

“Revere the flag and our country”

Anonymous
What are the main challenges facing democracy today?

“Give us a voice”

Mary , 57
Why is voting important to you?

“Make sure that the laws being passed are fair to all”

Erin , 16
Why is voting important to you?

“Voting gives you some voice to speak up”

Antony , 16
Why is voting important to you?

“To have a say in our government”

Cathy , 57
Why is voting important to you?

“The need for participatory democracy in the form that’s direct”

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?

“Have a voice in determining what our democracy looks like”

Ann Marie , 55
Why is voting important to you?

“No vote = no voice”

Anonymous , 68
Why is voting important to you?

“Every vote matters”

Herb , 68
Why is voting important to you?

“The best way to affect change is to vote”

Quinn , 43
Why is voting important to you?

“Why live in a world you have no say in”

Azirah , 16
Why is voting important to you?

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

Emma , 37
Why is voting important to you?

“It gives me a voice that my grandmother didn’t have”

Francesca , 87
Why is voting important to you?

“Many people risked their lives and have died for you to vote”

Ricky , 18
Why is voting important to you?

“It gets your voice out there”

Gus , 18
Why is voting important to you?

“Those that are trying to silence others opinions”

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

“It gives the people a voice”

Yejin , 20
Why is voting important to you?

“To get a say in how the state/nation is run”

Farhana , 18
What do you remember about the first time you voted?

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

Megan , 19
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?

“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?

“Your voice is heard”

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

“listen to the voices of the people”

Mike , 16
Why is voting important to you?

“I felt so grown up”

Renee , 50
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?

“contribute to the fabric of democracy”

Claire , 60
Why is voting important to you?

“returning land stewardship to my people”

Sophia , 19
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.