Voting Block is a dialogue journalism project intended to amplify the voices, concerns and opinions of residents regarding political issues in four New Jersey cities: Camden, Newark, Paterson and Trenton. (This builds off our 2017 Voting Block project, which you can read about here).

We’re recruiting 10 people in each city to have dinner. We’ll host the first dinner in Paterson in fall 2019, while the dinners in Newark, Camden, and Trenton will take place during the first few months of 2020. Each dinner will serve as an opportunity to discuss politics in a civil setting and to speak directly to legislators who are making decisions that impact their lives. Local media will partner with each dinner group to tell their stories.

We’ll encourage our participants to record videos after each dinner documenting their reactions to the conversation. After the third dinner, we’ll work with each participant to help them write an essay about the project and the political issues that most impact their lives, and we’ll publish all the essays. At the end of the project, we’ll compile a People’s Agenda based on the needs identified by residents during the dinners and send those agendas to local legislators.

Additionally, Voting Block will provide stipends of $100 each to community groups in fall 2019 who want to host their own Voting Block-style Political Potluck.

Voting Block is supported by a grant from the New Jersey Community News + Information Fund of the Community Foundation of New Jersey, a partnership of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Want to participate in Voting Block?

Voting Block is an initiative to spur civil civic dialogue in New Jersey and elevate underrepresented voices around political issues in four cities: Trenton, Camden, Newark and Paterson. Are you interested in joining one of our dinner groups?

Use the form below or click here to tell us more about yourself: