Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Program Salutes Legacy of Mandela

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Program Salutes Legacy of Mandela

Article excerpt

HACKENSACK -- In observance of Black History Month, members of Bergen County's African-American community saluted public servants, activists and youth from Teaneck on Saturday.

Elected officials and honorees joined host Councilwoman Lizette Parker of Teaneck at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Hackensack for a breakfast program that Parker has been organizing for six years.

Parker's first breakfast celebrated the election of the nation's first black president and, this year, honored the legacy of South Africa's first black president, the late Nelson Mandela.

"The spirit that I wanted to encompass this morning was the importance of making a difference in the lives of others," Parker said on Saturday.

More than that, she added, Black History Month observances should salute people who haven't yet been written into history books.

"We as African-Americans are making history every day, and it's so important that we recognize the efforts of those who are actually out there in the community," Parker said.

This year's honorees included three local community advocates: Deborah Witcher Jackson, Patricia White and Gloria Wilson; as well as J. Allyn Bivins, a senior at Teaneck High School; and Cedric James, a local youth football coach. Maredia Warren, a professor of music at New Jersey City University, was also honored.

Witcher Jackson, the longest-serving president of the Bergen and Passaic counties chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women Inc., said the event's advocacy award was significant for the organization and her own legacy in the community.

"I've always wanted to be one of Lizette's honorees. I'm truly honored," she said on Saturday. "It means we're doing something right" at NCBW.

U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-Paterson, in his third year attending Parker's event, said he enjoys saluting constituents who are affected by the battles he is fighting in Washington. …

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