A New Jersey man filed a lawsuit against the state on Thursday (May 17) in an attempt to force local officials to do away with de-facto segregation in schools.
The New York Times reported that Christian Estevez, who is Dominican, filed the lawsuit with the support of community groups, parents and even children. Estevez’s ultimate goal is to allow for students in New Jersey to be able to attend schools outside of their municipality. He’s one of about twelve plaintiffs in the case.
This suit comes on the 64th anniversary of the landmark decision Brown V. Board of Education that ruled school segregation unconstitutional.
“The promise of Brown is not being realized in New Jersey,” Estevez told The New York Times. He continued by adding, “If you look at a lot of the issues we are having right now in our society, it has a lot to do with the fact that people don’t know each other, and don’t interact with each other, and this creates misunderstanding and animosity. And so it’s important as a society, we think, that people be together, and that they learn side by side.”
Estevez is also the president of the Latino Action Network in New Jersey. Latino Action Network is a grassroots organization that engages in community issues relevant to Latinos in the United States.
According to a UCLA study, New Jersey is the sixth most segregated state for Black students and seventh for Latino students, which is surprising due to the fact that New Jersey is one of the few states where de-facto segregation was ruled unconstitutional.
Former New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Gary Stein told The New York Times that the de-facto segregation in New Jersey is “an embarrassment.”
“We have segregation at a level that is just intolerable for a state like ours, and we have never addressed it,” Stein told the newspaper.
Here’s what some people are saying about this issue over on Twitter:
New Jersey Law Codifies School Segregation, Suit Says via @NYTimes. Good luck, but unlikely that anything will change @RebeccaSibilia @nhannahjones @EdLawCenter @RickKahlenberg @HalleyTCF https://t.co/fumd046RDZ
— Josh Starr (@JoshuaPStarr) May 18, 2018
Heard same skepticism when we filed Abbott v Burke but we moved mountains on funding & resources – time for big push on this front https://t.co/3Qr128mRp7
— Education Law Center (@EdLawCenter) May 18, 2018
This lawsuit was filed on behalf of the @LATINOACTION, the @njnaacp, @LatinoCoalition, @UrbanLeagueEC, the @GNJUMC and nine school children who attend classes in segregated school districts. https://t.co/7YKghZdHvZ
— NJ Law Journal (@NJLJ) May 18, 2018
Image: NJ Spotlight