Gov. Phil Murphy created the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging in the Governor’s Office by executive order earlier this week.
Murphy said the new internal office, which will be led by Jayné Johnson, aims 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.
In conjunction, Murphy also signed a legislative package to bring greater diversity to the ranks of law enforcement. The bills direct the Civil Service Commission to implement several programs to promote diversity in law enforcement.
The programs include 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.
The Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging 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;
- Working with the private sector to develop methods to ensure equity in their processes related to state engagements.
Murphy said the executive order and bill signings build on his commitment to advance equity.
“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,” he said.
Johnson brings extensive advocacy, public service and policy experience to the role.
She 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 time at the Council of State Governments Justice Center, she was selected to join the urgent work in Minnesota, focusing on addressing the inequities in the state’s probation system, including the lack of uniformity in local administration and the overrepresentation of Native Americans and Blacks in the system.
She also previously served as senior counsel at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, where she championed workforce systems and housing reforms aimed at closing the racial wealth gap in New Jersey. Johnson received her Juris Doctor degree from Rutgers University Law School in Newark and a Bachelor of Arts degree in international studies from Oakwood University.
Johnson said she looks forward to the role.
“During my career, I have had the honor of serving in different leadership roles to achieve equity to combat the longstanding problem of systemic racism and discrimination in our laws, economy and institutions,” she said. “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.”