Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order to create the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging in the Governor’s Office on Sept 28.
Jayné Johnson will lead this office, geared to dismantle inequity within state government based on race, ethnicity and other protected characteristics and to expand opportunities for communities of color and other underserved New Jerseyans.
Murphy also signed a legislative package to bring greater diversity into law enforcement. Senate Bills 2765, 2766 and 2767 together direct the Civil Service Commission to implement programs to promote diversity in law enforcement, including a mentorship program for law enforcement applicants as well as the creation of a statewide database to assist the Commission in understanding the reason for an applicant’s selection or disqualification during the hiring process.
“With today’s executive order and bill signings, we are building on our commitment to advance equity for New Jerseyans who have been left behind for far too long,” said Murphy in a prepared statement. “Jayné’s wealth of experience advocating for social justice and prior work crafting policy solutions that promote equity will serve her well in this role. I am proud to appoint her as the director of this important new office and to sign a legislative package to ensure a stronger and fairer New Jersey that works for all.”
Johnson previously served as a senior policy analyst at The Council of State Governments Justice Center, where she provided strategic direction in launching the federally supported Justice Reinvestment Initiative. During her tenure at CSGJC, she was selected to address inequities in Minnesota’s probation system, including the lack of uniformity in local administration and the overrepresentation of Native Americans and Blacks in the system.
Prior to that, Johnson served as senior counsel at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice.
“During my career, I have had the honor of serving in different leadership roles to achieve equity to combat the long-standing problem of systemic racism and discrimination in our laws, economy, and institutions,” said newly appointed Johnson. “My new position in the Governor’s Office will allow me to continue doing critical work to build a more equitable and inclusive future and I appreciate the Governor’s confidence in me and the opportunity to serve the people of New Jersey.”
Johnson’s newly minted Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging in the Governor’s Office will focus on overseeing training, coordinating programing and developing policies to advance equity across all of state government; ensuring equity, anti-discrimination and anti-racism considerations are integrated into all decision making across state government from specific policy matters to legislation; establishing a statewide structure to ensure stakeholders and staff improve their ability to recognize and address structural inequities; and working with the private sector to develop methods to ensure equity in their processes related to state engagements, according to an announcement.
“Prioritizing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging is necessary for New Jersey to advance racial justice and repair the harms of the past,” said New Jersey Policy Perspective President Brandon McKoy, who announced Sept. 28 that he will step down from NJPP for a policy role in D.C. “Jayné Johnson is an incredible choice to spearhead these initiatives within the Murphy administration and brings an unparalleled depth of experience to the front office. Recognizing that personnel is policy, I commend Governor Murphy for this strong pick and look forward to seeing what Jayné accomplishes in her new role.”
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