InsideNJ’s African-American Power List Adds More from SJ, Still Woefully Short

By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media

ATLANTIC CITY – I promise I will not make this an annual event where I whine about the InsiderNJ’s African American Power List in Honor of Black History Month.

As I acknowledged last year, it is difficult narrowing down a list of 100 Black movers and shakers in a state. One hundred names may seem like a lot, but there are many African Americans making a difference and doing incredible work, worthy of recognition.

So kudos to InsiderNJ for taking the time out to do their best to highlight their 100 Power List with 147 names on its honorable mention list to boot. That’s hard work.

Now, with that said, when I look through the names for South Jersey residents, this list is woefully short, in some places a retread of names I’m assuming is just put on year after year just because while old and new people are constantly left off the list that truly deserve it.

The good news for South Jersey, four more names were added from last year. Rev. Charles Boyer, the founder of Salvation and Social Justice (who wasn’t even listed as an honorable mention last year) is No. 35, Atlantic City political organizer Stephenine Dixon was listed as a well deserved No. 57, Atlantic City Democratic campaigner Durwood Pinkett was listed at No. 78 and Cumberland County Commissioner Donna Pearson was listed at No. 88 (I would really quibble with the rank here, that would get me lost in the weeds).

AC’s Stephenine Dixon at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Photo courtesy of Stephenine Dixon

Former Atlantic County Commissioner Ashley Bennett, who ranked No. 51 last year, didn’t not make the Top 100 or even honorable mention this year. Wow. Overall  that’s an increase of 19 New Jerseyans on the list of 100.

Ashley Bennett

Six South Jerseyans made the Honorable Mention list this year (from a total of 147) with Alexander Bland, the founder of the Cape May-Cumberland Young Democrats replacing former Cumberland County Commission Jack Surrency. All the other names remained the same, regardless of what they did or didn’t do the year before.

Cumberland County Freeholder Jack Surrency. Photo courtesy of Jack Surrency

Sigh.

Who’s missing? I won’t get into a long list. I will save that for the Front Runner New Jersey South Jersey African-American Power List next month.

But there are four names that just has to be on this list but are not. A so called “African-American Power List” without Ralph Hunter, founder and curator of the African American History Museum; Kaleem Shabazz, Atlantic City NAACP president and Ward 3 council for Atlantic City; Burlington County Commissioner Felicia Hopson and Loretta Winters, president of the Gloucester County NAACP, is simply not a credible list.

Ralph Hunter, of the African American Museum of Southern New Jersey

Hunter runs TWO African-American museums in South Jersey, is a walking encyclopedia of Black History in South and is known through the state for his work. Shabazz just led the effort to bring the national NAACP to Atlantic City for the first time in more than 40 years. Winters is one of (if not the leading) female diversity and anti-racism champion in South Jersey and has been honored by virtually every civil rights organization in this region for her work. Hopson became Burlington County’s first African-American Commissioner director and led the way to form the county’s first racial justice task force in light the anti-racism rallies around the state.

None of them were even named on the honorable mention list. Are you kidding me?

Fatima Heyward, president of the New Jersey Young Democrats should have been in Top 100 this year and not relegated as honorable mention again. This list is in desperate need of the next generation of leaders in South Jersey, like Crystal Charley-Sibley, second vice president the New New Jersey NAACP Conference, Yolanda Melville, Atlantic City attorney and a leader in the national NAACP NextGen program and LaDaena Thomas, Mayor of Penns Grove.

Yolanda Melville

This is merely scratching the surface, something FRNJ will address in our power list next month.

Again, congratulations for all the South Jersey leaders for their deserved honor in the InsiderNJ list. Their names are below. To make a long story short, I just wanted to say there is so much more going on in South Jersey that meets the eye.

InsiderNJ.com African American Power List entries from South Jersey:

11. NJ State Sen. Troy Singleton, Burlington

15. NJ State Assemblyman Herb Conaway, Moorestown

21. Mayor Marty Small, Atlantic City

35. Rev. Charles Boyer, founder Salvation and Social Justice

36. Richard Smith, president of New Jersey NAACP Conference, Vineland

37. NJ State Assemblyman Antwan McClellan, Ocean City

44. Amir Khan, mayoral candidate Camden

45. Retired NJ Supreme Court Justice John Wallace, Pitman

49. Dana Redd, former Camden Mayor

54. NJ State Assemblyman William Spearman, Camden

55. Jonathan Young, Sr. Camden County Commissioner

57. Stephenine Dixon, nationally-recognize political organizer, Atlantic City

59. NJ State Assemblyman Adam Taliaferro, Woolwich Township

64. Mayor Albert Kelly, Bridgeton, founder of Gateway Community Action Partnership

Bridgeton Mayor Albert Kelly

65. Craig Callaway, Atlantic City community operative

73. Durwood Pinkett, Atlantic City Democratic organizer

76. Ernest Coursey, Atlantic County Commissioner, Chief of Staff for AC Mayor Marty Small

88. Donna Pearson, Cumberland County Commissioner

99. Mayor Frank Minor, Logan Township

Honorable Mention:

Fatima Heyward, President, New Jersey Young Democrats, Marlton

Mayor Jamila Odom Bremmer, Chesilhurst

Alexander Bland, President, Cape May-Cumberland County Young Democrats, Woodbine

Tanzie Youngblood, Activist, former Congressional Candidate, Woolwich Township

Will Cunningham, Congressional staffer, former Congressional Candidate, Vineland

John Francis, Councilman, West Cape May

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