New Jerseyans stuck in the house weathering the COVID-19 public health crisis can win a $1,000 just by making a video to promote civic engagement and the importance of voting and completing the Census.

Newark-based non-profit Project Ready has launched a month-long video competition open to all New Jerseyans.

“Right now many of us might feel afraid and even powerless, but this moment highlights the impact of civic engagement more than ever,” said Shennell McCloud, Executive Director of Project Ready.

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“If there was ever any doubt that who we choose to lead us or the support we receive from the federal government matters, there is no more," McCloud said. "With census forms in our mailboxes and elections being held exclusively by mail, we want to empower New Jerseyans hunkered down at home to get creative - while practicing social distancing - and illustrate how they’re taking back their power and using their voices to speak out.” 

In Newark, the school board election originally scheduled for April 21 has been moved to May 12 and it is by mail-in ballot only.

Participants can share a message about either the fundamental importance of voting as a civil right and why we need our communities to #GetOutTheVoteNow or why completing the Census and ensuring you're counted is an important form of civic engagement. The winner will be chosen by popular vote and will receive a $1,000 prize. Prizes will also be awarded for second and third place entries.

“We know that many of our neighbors are finding themselves struggling to pay bills, and this is one small way we can help support the community during this difficult time,” added Mrs. McCloud.

The contest is open to New Jerseyans of all ages, and we encourage students and young people to participate. Get creative! Videos could include a dance, song, poem, written word, photo collage, artwork, rap, or music video. Videos can be submitted until April 30th.

Videos must be 60 seconds or less and must be nonpartisan and not endorse or oppose any candidate or issue. For more information or to submit an entry, visit: