Grace Appiah, Crystal Charley-Sibley Join Salvation & Social Justice


Crystal Charley and Grace Appiah.

AC JosepH Media

WOODBURY — Salvation and Social Justice announced Tuesday two new appointments to its team — Grace Appiah as coordinator of its Black Youth Coalition and Crystal Charley-Sibley as its Black Health Equity director.

Appiah, a resident of Newark, graduated with two bachelor’s degrees in public administration and African American and African Studies with a Social Justice Concentration from Rutgers University-Newark.

She was a scholar of the Honors Living and Learning Community; a residential scholarship that helps to cultivate social justice leaders to make local and global impact. As a part of the inaugural cohort of the BOLD Women’s Leadership Program, Appiah helped to implement a transformation project to bring awareness of sexual violence on campus. In addition, she served as the Community Outreach Senator of the Student Governing Association and mentored freshman students through HLLC and the Bonner’s Leaders Program.

“In college, Jesus met Grace in her questions about her passion for social justice and her faith,” a statement from Salvation and Social Justice said. “She then came to the realization about the deep intersection between the Gospel of Jesus and social justice.”

Grace Appiah, Photo courtesy Salvation & Social Justice.

Appiah helped to co-create Intervarsity Newark Black Campus Ministry to help bridge the gap between Black identity and Christian spirituality, as well as hold the space to discuss issues that affect the Black community on campus.

Through travel, activism, and service, Appiah has exchanged cultures and connected with people in Curacao, India, Cuba, Panama, Costa Rica, and Mexico. She also studied abroad at the University of Cape Town, South Africa during the fall 2019 semester and focused on African and Gender Studies through the Gilman Scholarship.

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Her one-year fellowship with Salvation and Social Justice as the Coordinator of our Youth Coalition is through the BOLD Women’s Leadership Program. This fellowship aims to financially support graduating BOLD scholars and enabling them to serve and work with an organization that aligns with their purpose and passions as well as BOLD’s commitment to advancing progressive social change and fostering equitable and inclusive communities.

“Grace chose to work with Salvation and Social Justice to deeply understand the spiritual and physical aspects of prayerful activism from a policy perspective,” the Salvation and Social Justice statement said.

“Grace’s deepest desire and prayer is to help create spaces, opportunities, and resources of discipleship for Black people to experience Jesus for themselves, understand and practice prayerful resistance and truly be free in the land of the living. Lastly, one of her favorite Bible verses is: Luke 4:18, NIV, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom to the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind and set the oppressed free.'”

Charley-Sibley, who has excelled in local and statewide civil rights positions, has spent her professional career strengthening her community through outreach, activism and advocacy and has always been deeply embedded in her life’s work.

Crystal Charley, president of the Southern Burlington County branch of the NAACP and NAACP New Jersey State Conference chair. Photo courtesy Crystal Charley.

She is the founder of Melanin and Motherhood, co-founder of Queen Village Career and Wellness Services, a women’s empowerment speaker, community activist, second vice president of the New Jersey State Conference NAACP, the statewide annual convention chair for the New Jersey State Conference NAACP, and president of the Southern Burlington County Branch of the NAACP. 

The Morristown native is an alumnae of HBCU Delaware State University, where she attained a bachelor’s degree in sociology, with a concentration in criminal justice. She then furthered her education at Strayer University, earning a master’s in business administration, specializing in public administration.

In 2018, Mrs. Charley-Sibley was appointed by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy to serve on the Governor’s Task Force for the Continued Transformation of Youth Justice in New Jersey. Her dedication and advocacy has also led to print, online, and television features in The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Burlington County Times, the Grio, The Moorestown Sun, Front Runner New Jersey, The Trentonian, Fox29, and 6ABC.

Recognized for her commitment to civil rights, women’s empowerment and leadership, she has been the recipient of several awards, including the 2014 Southern Burlington County NAACP Nelson B. Rivers, III Membership Excellence Award; 2015 New Jersey State Conference NAACP Torch Bearer’s Award; 2017 The Prestige Society’s Phenomenal Woman Award; 2017 Southern Burlington County NAACP Leadership Award; 2018 New Jersey State Conference NAACP Branch of the Year Award; and the 2019 Burlington County Outstanding Woman of the Year Award for Community Service.

Crystal is also a patient-advocate for Black maternal health and healthcare equity. Having undergone a high-risk pregnancy, resulting in pre-eclampsia and an emergency C-section, it was this experience that led to the founding of Melanin and Motherhood in 2017. She created a platform for Black mothers to unify around their unique journey through motherhood. She has taken a strong stance in advocating specifically for legislation that will address the tremendous disparities for equal access to healthcare, resulting in high maternal morbidity, as well as high maternal and fetal mortality rates in Black women. 

“Breaking barriers, building up, and uplifting other Black women is a passion and a priority for Crystal,” the Salvation and Social Justice statement said. “Inspired daily by the African proverb ‘It takes a village,’ the desire to offer assistance both personally and professionally lead her to co-founding Queen Village Career and Wellness Services. Black women are empowered through professional development services preparing them for entrepreneurial or career advancements, as well as mental health services, and overall wellness.”

Charley-Sibley is also a sought speaker with WordsEmpower Speakers Bureau, who regularly presents at conventions and on panels focusing on civil rights, systemic racism, diversity and inclusion, issues of educational equity, voting rights, affordable housing, police relations within the Black community, and Black maternal health and healthcare disparities.

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