By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media
ATLANTIC CITY — Insider NJ published its 2022 African American Power List in honor of Black History Month this week with many usual faces with some new ones, but some of the same concerns previously posted by Front Runner New Jersey.com.
Front Runner New Jersey salutes everyone who made the list. Congratulations! The recognition is well deserved. We know that you will continue to do great things and the community and state have already benefited mightily from your service.
First of all, let me say that I perfectly understand not everyone who should be on the list cannot be on the list. It’s the exclusivity of it that makes it special, draws attention to it and drives up the interest and allows people to debate who is on it, which drives up interest.
I am sure the creator of the list knows that they cannot put everyone on there that should be on there.
With that being said, because I understand the dynamics don’t mean it cannot be held up to scrutiny and examination. Front Runner New Jersey for the past several years has complained that there are not enough South Jersey residents who are part of the list. We’ve even argued that the list was illegitimate without certain people.
The good news is, more South Jerseyans, 21, made the Top 100 this year than in 2021 (17). Gloucester County Sheriff Jonathan Sammons (No. 56), Camden Mayor Vic Carstarphen (No. 45) Atlantic City NAACP resident and city councilman Kaleem Shabazz (No. 49) New Jersey Young Democrats President Fatima Heyward (No. 81) were some of the few SJ newcomers who made the list.
I have complained in the past (and will renew this time as well) that no New Jersey African American Power List is complete without influential Gloucester County NAACP President Loretta Winters and Ralph Hunter Sr., the founder of the African American Heritage Museum of Southern New Jersey.
While Winters and Hunter were not listed in the top 100 (continued shame), they were mentioned as an honorable mention for the first time in the three years FRNJ has been examining the list. That is progress and maybe next year Winters and Hunter will get the seeding they deserve on the list.
While the South Jersey honorable mentions increased to 13 from six in 2022, there are still some glaring omissions. Crystal Charley Sibley, second vice president with the New Jersey State NAACP Conference, made the honorable mention list for the first time. That is outstanding but her husband, Marcus Sibley, president of the Southern Burlington County NAACP and one of, if not the leading, African American environmental activists in the state, should have been mentioned as well.
The list continues to limit young African Americans who are making outstanding contributions. Some of those include Sen. Cory Booker staffer Quinton Law, who currently sits on the Moorestown Town Council, Digna Townsend, co-founder of the South Jersey Young Democratic Black Caucus, and Aquasia Davis, of the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office who sits on the Stockton University Foundation board, among others.
I could go on but don’t want to belabor the point again. That is just scratching the service.
For now, Front Runner New Jersey.com would like to honor and celebrate the South Jersey residents who did make the Insider NJ Power List this year. They are all well-deserving and worthy of praise. We will keep pointing out those who deserve similar praise as well.
South Jerseyans on Insider NJ’s African American Power List:
10. Troy Singleton, State Senator
16. Herb Conaway, State Assemblyman
22. Marty Small, Mayor of Atlantic City
36. Richard T. Smith, President of New Jersey State NAACP Conference
37. Antwan McClellan, State Assemblyman
38. Jonathan Sammons, Sheriff Gloucester County
43. Judge John Wallace, former NJ Supreme Court Justice
45. Vic Carstarphen, Mayor of Camden
46. Curtis Jenkins, Camden city councilman and union leader
49. Kaleem Shabazz, city council of Atlantic City, AC NAACP president
50. Gilbert “Whip” Wilson, Camden County Sheriff
55. William Spearman, State Assemblyman
56. Jonathan Young, Camden County Commissioner
58. Stephenine Dixon, Political Organizer
64. Albert Kelly, Mayor of Bridgeton, founder Gateway CAP
68. Elton Custis, Camden County School Advisory Board
76, Ernest Coursey, Atlantic County Commissioner
81. Fatima Heyward, President of New Jersey Young Democrats
88. Donna Pearson, Cumberland County Commissioner
94. Felicia Hopson, Burlington County Commissioner
99. Frank Minor, Mayor of Logan Township
Ralph Hunter, founder of African American Heritage Museum of Southern New Jersey
Loretta Winters, President of Gloucester County NAACP
Crystal Charley-Sibley, Second Vice President New Jersey NAACP State Conference
Yolanda Melville, Atlantic County NAACP
LaDaena Thomas, Mayor of Penns Grove
Craig Callaway, Political Operative in Atlantic County
Alexander Bland, President of Cape May-Cumberland Young Democrats
Tanzie Youngblood, educator and former SJ Congressional candidate
Will Cunningham, Congressional staffer and former SJ Congressional candidate
John Francis, West Cape May councilman
Adam Taliaferro, former SJ State Assemblyman
Durwood Pinkett, Atlantic City Political organizer
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