Class of 2023: 30 Under 40 Top Young African American Leaders of SJ
BY CLYDE HUGHES | AC JosepH Media
ATLANTIC CITY — As we move into a second season of honoring young people throughout South Jersey for their outstanding contributions to the region, Front Runner New Jersey has made two noteworthy changes.
First, we’ve expanded the group considered from under 35-year-old to under 40, hence the name change “30 Under 40” rather than “30 Under 35” in the past. We found the 35 age limit to arbitrary and felt we were leaving out too many outstanding people who just missed out on the honors because of that.
We believe the move actually strengthens the list, makes it more competitive and it makes those selected truly worthy to be picked out of so many outstanding individuals.
The second change comes with the overall scope of our cover. Late last year, we quietly started covering stories in southern Ocean County, including Toms River. We found there was a strong connection in that area with South Jersey and giving it demographics up to Toms River, it made sense.
We honored our first person from the region in the 30 Under 35 Top Young Latinos of South Jersey in September with the selection of Sunni Vargas, the outstanding conservation activist from Lacey. We name our first African American from southern Ocean County in this list.
Front Runner New Jersey — through countless interviews and recommendations from many local and regional leaders and through our own news reporting — we present to you the Class of 2023 30 Under 40 Top Young African American Leaders of South Jersey in recognition Black History Month:
Congratulations to the Class of 2023 30 Under 40 Top Young African American Leaders of SJ
From Richard Todd Edward and Edwards & Son Funeral Home, 208 E. Commerce Street, Bridgeton 856-453-1960
ADIANNA ALSTON, Williamstown
The reigning valedictorian at Clark Atlanta University, Alston spent her summer covering stories from Front Runner New Jersey before returning to school in the fall to pursue her master’s degree in political science. While an outstanding student, Alston got her start speaking out on civil rights issues and taking a leadership role in high school while attending Haddonfield Memorial. The English major got a chance to interview some of the top national leaders from the NAACP during civil rights organization national convention in Atlantic City over the summer and provided coverage when Vice President Kamala Harris came to town. “Everyone has a story to tell, and this experience interning has emphasized within me the importance of giving individuals the outlet to do so,” Alston said of her experience this summer.
JENN BROWN BOLLING, Middle Township
In 2015, with the help of a handful of local churches, Bolling started Unity Day in Wildwood as a way to bring people today during great racial strive after the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Mo. That event has now grown to a day-long affair where more than 400 people attended this past fall, bring the community together with law enforcement and the religious community. The educator said while COVID-19 slowed the growth, 2022 saw the event expanding again. Bolling, who in January was sworn in to the executive committee of the Cape May County NAACP, said formed the nonprofit at Right to Unite four years after the first Unity Day to build momentum. “During Unity Day, I would love for people to meet others, create new connections, build relationships, network with each other, but ultimately understand that our differences are not greater than our similarities and when hate arises, we need to respond in love,” Bolling said.
ADRIENNE BAULDOCK, Willingboro
Bauldock is the project coordinator for the South Jersey Information Equity Project, a program created by the Center for Cooperative Media in partnership with the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists to expand the coverage of Black and Brown communities in Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties. Through the program, Bauldock helps address media inequity in South Jersey, specifically by seeking to improve the quality and quantity of news and information produced by and for communities of color. A recent graduate of Montclair State, Bauldock is a self-taught entrepreneur and created the popular Instagram webcast “Wassup Wednesdays,” which supports local business owners and other leaders. She continues to work in NJ media/creative ecosystems, understanding the resources/opportunities that are lacking, especially for people who are new to the industry.
BRANDON BLOUNT, Vineland
Blount has spent the last five years using his platforms and podcasts to promote those in his community who are pursuing their passion. Ranging from black businesses to recording artists as well as being involved in community events such as Juneteenth, UNITY Day, and Family Fun Day. Blount, aka “Breez” has Been known to shine a light on those who otherwise wouldn’t receive that type of promotion. He is also known as the “T- Shirt Guy,” guy, running his own custom tee shirt business named Graphic TeeSigners. He specializes in clothing lines, birthdays, family reunions, and RIP tees with a goal to get more clubs, schools and businesses as clientele. In 2023, Blount’s main goal is to “take up more space,” which essentially means growing his network. He plans on getting with like-minded individuals who are willing to share knowledge, experiences and resources.
KAMIRAH HAMLETT BROWN, Atlantic City
Brown is one-half of the dynamic duo with Jumaanah Salaam that created YOUnite, a networking and women’s empowerment event with a mission of bridging the gap between all women through events and upcoming merchandise. That mission is built upon empowerment and support. Brown and Salaam met in college in New York in 2016 and birthed the idea of YOUnite the following year. Brown has 10 years of experience in the fashion industry and has worked as a personal shopper and stylist. She also worked for Suistudio, where she attended suit school and received her certification in professional business suiting and tailoring for women. Brown has experience in the luxury fashion industry after working at the New York 5th Ave Louis Vuitton location as a private client advisor assistant. She then later on got promoted to work at DVF (Diane Von Fursteberg) NYC Corporate Office where she is currently an online client experience specialist.
J.T. BURKS, Millville
Burks is simply known as “Coach,” but there are many other hats he wears: husband, dad, life coach, director, author, activist, entrepreneur, chaplain, organizer and mentor. A graduate of Cumberland Regional H.S. he shows his passion for the community through the many projects he is involved with, including the founding of the nonprofit Positive Vibes, which serves local youth with various activities. He founded “Queens to Be” and “Kings to Be” clubs that mentor young women and men, respectively, the traveling boys and girls traveling basketball camps (Royalty and Lady Royalty), and the Positive Vibes Summer League summer rec basketball in Millville. His leadership of the youth flag football program, as well as sandlot games, is well-known. His endeavors also include Elderly LUV (Loved, Understood, Valued) that caters to seniors, HOOD (Helping Our Own Destiny) community gatherings, giving opportunities to better the community. He is a chaplain Burks for the Millville Police Department and is active with PAL. Through all of those activities he serves as public works director for Fairfield Township.
DARWIN COOPER, JR. Vineland
Cooper is the chair of the Cumberland County Young Republicans and master technician locator with UtiliQuest, LLC, in Paulsboro. He also sits on the City of Vineland Zoning Board. As head of the local Young Republicans, he oversees meetings, holds special events for outreach programs for young adults interested in getting into politics, coordinating meeting and work schedules for staff teams and executives. On the zoning board, he oversees and small and major projects of those who want to have currently building in Vineland. He is also a real estate professional with Cooper Capital LLC. There, he connects with real estate attorneys to assist with deal-related questions, acquired new customers, counseled clients and identified purchasing needs to deliver relevant real estate investments. He also assist investors with remodeling plans and costs to drive client profitability and long-term business retention. He has networked with industry contacts to expand knowledge of real estate markets and best practices. This month, he was added to the Cumberland County Planning Board.
JAMIL DEMBY, Vineland
An honors graduate and star football player out of Vineland High School, Demby was a member of the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams as an offensive guard. Currently a free agent, he will play in the XFL for the Vegas Vipers in the spring. Demby has always worked as hard in the classroom and in the community has he does on the football field. He graduated with honors from the University of Maine, where he was also the captain of the football team, wining all conference honors in the process. He was also named an Academic All-American in the process. Demby, who earned football through the Vineland Midget Football League at the age of 7, holds an annual football camp for local students. He is a donor and sponsor of the Jersey Boyz Soccer Team and has given to the Hispanic Advisory Board Scholarship with the support of his mother Jasmin Gomez-Demby.
“Congratulations Jamil on your 30 Under 40 selection. I am so proud of you for what you have accomplished and what you will do in the future. Keep up the great work!” Mom.
LaTOYA DUNSTON, Atlantic City
Undaunted maybe one of the best words to describe LaToya Dunston, one of two women on the city council of Atlantic City. She sits as the Ward 2 councilmember, replacing Marty Small, who she is frequently at odds with. She is a role model, advocate, teacher, social worker care giver and activist for her district residents. The Atlantic City native is the longtime founder and guiding force behind AC Xclusive Drill Team, an organization she started in 2008 to created positive youth involvement. She has been recognized by the Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, the New Jersey Martin Luther King Jr. Commission and Atlantic County Freeholders, among others for her years of work with Atlantic City’s youth. “All of these titles energize the efforts of not only myself but those many adult and youth volunteers. [I] have the same desire and passion to ensure that not only our young, beautiful black girls and boys act as what they represent in relation to AC Xclusive Drill Team, but also how they exhibit that positive representation to this greater community as a whole,” Dunston previously told Front Runner New Jersey.
KYANA EVANS, Paulsboro
Evans works for the influential regional nonprofit Gateway Community Action Partnership and sits on the Paulsboro School Board. At Gateway, she provides social services to low- and moderate- income individuals. A native of Paulsboro, Evans serves on many community boards and committees, working to advocate for needed services and resources for families in Paulsboro and Gloucester County. She takes pride in her personal and professional goal of “Keeping Kids and Families First,” working to make a difference in the greater Paulsboro. Evans is a member of the Paulsboro Board of Education, Women United-United Way Board, Chair of the CGS Care Management Organization Board of Directors, and Treasurer of the Paulsboro Midget Football Organization. She also is a member of the Paulsboro Recreation Committee, Gloucester County Planning Committee and the Gloucester County Council for Young Children. Evans was the 2019 Boys and Girls Club of Gloucester County Alumni of the Year. In 2022, Evans was honored and presented with the Gloucester County Women of Achievement Award presented by the Gloucester County Board of Commissioners. Other awards include the Samuel H. Jones Jr. Community Development Award from Frank Messina, AllRisk CEO, Dr. Frank Brigio Spirt of Community Award from Jack Surrency; Special Recognition Award Longest Serving Board Member- from Joe L. Kidd, Sr. and Special Recognition Award Gateway from Founder and President Albert B. Kelly.
KHARY GOLDEN, Camden
Golden is the founder and executive director of Camden U, which empowers Camden city residents to access fast, flexible and affordable degree programs through Southern New Hampshire University. A dedicated educator who grew up in Camden’s Whitman Park neighborhood, Golden now works to provide college and career pathways for those he grew up with. Seeking an opportunity to help inspire and motivate Camden city youth, Golden embarked on a career at the LEAP Academy University Charter School in downtown Camden, beginning as an afterschool tutor and volunteer in the LEAP Center for College Access, and eventually working his way up to the position of LEAP Early College Program Director and Chief Innovation Officer. He brings a wealth of experience in connecting underserved and underrepresented students to opportunities in higher education. Golden, who has a master’s degree from Rutgers University-Camden, is married to his high school sweetheart Anjulie Williams, who herself is a lifelong dedicated educator, serving as the assistant director of teacher development for Mastery Charter Schools.
RAYNARD GROSS, Millville
Gross is a landscaper and t-shirt designer. He also works with young adults with autism and behaviors and has built a reputation around the city as someone who is dedicated to seeing the lives of trouble youth change for the better. He was honored last summer as the Father’s Day “Men of Iron” by the Vineland African American Community Development Corporation. Gross said he spends most of his time in Delsea Gardens trying to positively impact the youth in the neighborhood. I do a lot of things in the community,” Gross said. “I grew up in Delsea Gardens. I realize what it’s like in those type of communities. We don’t have a strong male presence. What I decided to do was try to bring that strong presence to Delsea Gardens and just try to make a change.”
JOVAN GUILFORD, Vineland
Breaking away from a difficult past before he even entered her teens, Guilford, also known a Von J, changed her life to make sure her future — and the future of others she is counseling — is much brighter than her past. Through the mentorship, Vontime dedicates itself to help at-risk youth. Guilford uses her experience growing up in the juvenile justice system to help young girls and boys stay kids a little longer and understand their past doesn’t equal their future. She encourages them to continue to strive forward and break generational curses to their own narratives. Guilford speaks to those curses personally as a ward of the foster care system and being locked up before 13. Through her faith in God and surrounding herself with people who had her best interest at heart, she re-entered society more determined than ever to blaze a new path for her life. Now, she has dedicated her life to be that mentor and sounding board that she didn’t have growing up.
ZIKEA WISE HUGHES, Vineland
Wise Hughes is helper, educator and community leader. She attends Rutgers University of New Jersey where she completed the advancing standing program and is completing a degree in social work with an emphasis in children, youth and families. She has previously held positions like mental health therapist, outpatient therapist and her current role as a human trafficking case manager. Her main goal is to help because positivity can take you far, but your purpose will take you to unexpected heights. She specializes in crisis intervention, housing, counseling, connecting individuals with resources, helping obtain social services, advocating, and helping provide stability. Her involvement in the community is documented through mentorship programs, counseling, sports and her love of music. Wise Hughes’ broad range of talents and education supercedes expectations and with her helping hand, she displays creative resourceful solutions to assist in the community. From trauma groups to feeding the community, Zikea has displayed grit and courage when faced with adversity and challenges with being resourceful and holding people high with integrity as well as respect.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Zikea Wise Hughes and FRNJ Editor Clyde Hughes are not related.]
JARED HUNTER, Woodbury
Hunter serves as the senior organizer for Salvation and Social Justice, a black faith-rooted public policy nonprofit in Trenton, overseeing the organizing efforts for numerous social justice campaigns & projects focused on education, civic engagement, criminal justice, and more. Hunter has been an active community leader in his hometown of Woodbury for more than 10 years, having just run unsuccessfully for mayor in 2022. In 2021 he established a political action group, Woodbury United Together, to organize and mobilize more progressive leadership to run for local office in Woodbury. The group has grown over the last two years and continually works with progressive organizations across the South Jersey region to provide increase transparency and more equitably social and economic opportunities in local government. He has worked for the local government, various educational and youth development organizations mentoring the city’s youth to become active members of their community. He sits on several boards and steering committees supporting economic and community development work across New Jersey. He often consults as a freelance grant writer and organizational manager to assist nonprofits and small businesses in building up capital and power for their communities.
AMBER JONES, Camden
A native of New Haven, Conn., Jones has worked with young girls extensively through her 10 years of education in South Jersey. Her work with youth is a part of her life’s purpose. In 2018 she established a girls empowerment organization Queens Academy, whose mission is to provide girls with the necessary tools, skills, opportunities, and experiences in order to thrive. Jones said she contributes much of her success to the youth programs that she was involved in growing up and felt the need to impact young people the same way. Queens Academy touches upon topics and issues that impact girls. The workshops that she facilitates uses various therapeutic approaches and provides girls a safe space. Every summer, Jones takes her workshops on the road traveling to different states for her Journey to Self- Love tour. Jones is always looking for new and innovative ways to motivate youth, in 2022 she released her very first book “Beautiful Rising Queens.” Jones serves as a social work supervisor for interns at Rutgers University’s school of Social Work.
JAZMIN GRAVES JONES, Deptford Township
Jones is the president, CEO and lead photographer of JLerae Photography. While she has been able to enjoy not only portrait photography, but also enjoys photographing nature. Always finding new ways to challenge herself. When she takes pictures, she wants to capture a moment in which her clients can relive repeatedly. Jones wants to create warmth and love for the memory and have conversations begin that describes the moment after it has passed. She makes it her mission to give the experience of excitement throughout each session. Allowing the client to have the “spotlight” feeling and really shine through. Working together in creating a story they wish to tell through their pictures, puts her creativity to work. Using her camera has always been a calming time, allowing her the chance to deliver the results that are expected in a fun way. The other half of Jazmin’s life is being a mother to three beautiful children. Spending time with her
family and friends give Jazmin the insight of how important moments are and how wonderful it is to be able to go back to those moments while enjoying a photo.
NATASHA LEE, Vineland
A single mother and Cumberland County native, Natasha Lee established the I Was Her brand from her own personal experience of overcoming potentially life-changing obstacles to become a role model for her children, an entrepreneur, notary and events planner. Growing up one of nine siblings, Lee says family and their support have always played a huge part in why she does what she does. She is proud of being an active member of her community who loves to give back through various events & activities. Lee said her goal is to inspire other women by creating a safe space for them to tell their story. Lee has a history of planning and volunteering at community events in her area. Those include her annual “Family Fun Day” that focuses on the bringing people together, the youth especially, for a day of food, games, entertainment, as well as education. She is already planning the 2023 event.
PRISCILLA LOOMIS, Wildwood
Loomis, who attended Paul VI High School, is an Olympian, former professional track and field athlete specializing in the high jump, entrepreneur, nonprofit founder, content manager, philanthropist and warrior representing all resilient and powerful leaders. With features in The New York Times, CNN and National Geographic, Loomis is a public figure with 10-plus years of experience in athletics and motivational speaking. She runs two successful businesses, is a three-time Hall of Fame Inductee, two-time Female Athlete of the Year and world class medalist. She is the president of The Priscilla E Frederick Foundation, supporting single-parent households and awarding grants and scholarships to students residing in single-parent households. Loomis is now a public speaker; speaking on the Olympic mindset, leadership development, health and wellness and empowerment through positive impact. Loomis is a Failure & Fighter, Wife and Warrior promoting positive energy, gratitude, love of self and being the rising tide that lifts all ships!oomis, who attended Winslow Township High School as a standout athlete, competed in 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil in the high jump for Antigua and Barbuda, the birthplace of her father. She also competed in the Pan American Games in 2015 and 2019. Now retired, Loomis is now focused on being the change the world needs to see through her Priscilla Frederick Foundation. She has served as role model for young girls, an entrepreneur, motivational speaker, on-air talent, and a health and wellness advocate. “Unapologetically Me & being Too Much” is one of Loomis’s favorite tag lines. She believes in being the spark to one’s inner self-confidence and speaking prosperity, well-being, and authenticity to others. She will be participating in a February workshop doing just that to uplift the underserved girls in Cape May County.
KASHAWN McKINLEY, Atlantic City
McKinley is director of constituent services and special projects with the City of Atlantic City and Mayor Marty Small’s point man for growing the resort town’s cannabis industry. A Pleasantville native and former high school and college basketball standout, McKinley is in charge of being the face of city in addressing specific issues among residents. Before taking on his expanded role, he worked as Small’s confidential aide/assistant. Today, McKinley tackles problems to individual neighborhood issues to addressing concerns along the city’s internationally famous Boardwalk area. In November, he was elected to a term on the Atlantic City Board of Education. Knowing how marijuana laws has disproportionately affected the Black community as an African American male, McKinley has promised “social equity” in Atlantic City’s policies guiding future cannabis endeavors. “I have an opportunity to do things the right way with the cannabis industry,” he has said. “We are encouraging and providing tools and resources for locals to have a stake in ownership. I have a vision and a plan and under the mayor’s administration and I am executing it.”
YOLANDA MELVILLE, Galloway
Along with being a partner at the high-powered Atlantic City law firm Cooper Levenson, Melville has taken on leadership roles with the NAACP on a national and local level. She serves as vice president of the Atlantic City Branch NAACP, co-host the chapter radio show with President and city councilman Kaleem Shabazz and has participated in many local events. Nationally, she is the former chair of the NAACP’s NextGen Alumni Committee and is a senior fellow at the Higher Heights Leadership Fund. Melville serves as general counsel to numerous business entities and represents clients throughout every stage of the litigation process in both state and federal courts. She also serves as chair of Cooper Levenson’s Diversity Committee.
A graduate of the prestigious Howard University School of Law, she had worked with the Brennan Center for Justice in New York City, assisting in the organization’s efforts following Shelby County v. Holder, a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Voting Rights Act. She was honored by the Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce last year for her local work.
ALLEN MITCHELL III, Manchester Township
This southern Ocean County resident believes life is truly about forming connections and loving people no matter the circumstances. He serves as a youth pastor at Remnant AME in South
Toms River where he volunteers, mentors, and preaches to the youth. A student at Ocean County College, Allen is currently working towards a business degree that he plans to utilize while building his nonprofit organization, Future King, a place for brotherhood, fellowship and development of young men. Allen believes the way to affect the world starts with self-development, helping today’s young men grow into the strong leaders. He was the proud recipient of 2021 The Unsung Hero award at Manchester Township High School and the Youth Leadership award on Men’s Day from Remnant AME. Allen strives to make a strong impact in his community, and ultimately, the world.
SHADEA MURPHY, Rio Grande
Murphy started her Spiked Delights Mobile Bartending in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and thrived despite the challenges. The licensed bartender not only provides amazing bar services but other services such as custom bottles, bar staff service, cocktail tastings, cocktail classes, bartender training, etc. The first-time business owner and mother of two, Murphy had to preserve with determination to win gigs and excel at events for celebrities and politicians, etc. She has been featured on numerous podcast, shows and newspapers, winning Best Bartender in Best Of The Press 2022, and being featured as a rising star in The Press of Atlantic City. She received a Certificate of Excellence from Pleasantville High School. She now has taken her success and is now an inspiration in her community to show that no matter who you are, what you been through or where you came from anything is possible.
SAMIR NICHOLS, Camden
As the founder and chief executive officer of the Superior Arts Institute, Nichols have made a profound impact on the city through plays and other art project that belies his age of under 30. The community activist won national attention with his play “Town Hall: Resolution 50,” where young people tackle environmental injustices in Camden and numerous other projects. Nichols work has brought awareness to community and social issues through theater arts awareness. He refers to himself and his team as “gladiators in Suits.” At age 14 he constructed a non-profit to support an “Arts in Education” platform that allows Camden City scholars the ability to express themselves through dance and musical arts. He has served as artistic facilitator to Rutgers University, Yorkship Elementary School, Hatch Family School, and Coopers Poynt School providing students with a rigorous training in performing arts. Samir is a firm believer that everyone has a dream and is entitled to live out that dream as he has, and it is his job and reasonability to be a beacon of hope for young artistic pioneers.
CEQUENCE PARSONS, Salem
Parsons is the CEO of Camp Crystal, a youth mentoring program that she started four years ago in memory of her late mother Crystal Parsons. She currently mentors 32 girls dedicated to uplifting them on a regular basis. She started the organization her home with weekly meetings tackling different topics such as grief, learning self-love, bullying, personal hygiene, mending broken relationships, etc. She has now grown Camp Crystal to having their own building space where here mentees now live in a judgment free zone, where they can grow and feel safe at the same time. Camp Crystal participants take trips, have community events and now runs a summer camp for all the kids in the city. The camps consist of activities to build relationships with parents and start with a “Camp Crystal Prom.” The goal of Camp Crystal is to give the mentees a chance grow, help one another and love each and every kid in my community.
LENNASIA ROSS, Vineland
Ross is the co-chair of the Cape May-Cumberland County Young Democrats. The former honors graduate of Vineland High School, recently graduated Magna Cum Laude from Rutgers University-Newark. Ross works as a teacher’s assistant in a preschool and plans to return to college to obtain her master’s degree to begin a counseling career. She was a student-athlete at Vineland, participating in track, cross country and cheerleading along with her stellar grade record. Ross has become a role model through her passion and work for other young people. She said she hopes she can inspire people her age to learn and to become active in the political process. “People should be more involved because our voices matter,” Ross previously told Front Runner New Jersey. “We deserve to be heard, understood, and valued. Most people that participate in politics believe that they can influence the government but the truth is we are the government. When we vote, have debates, and share our concerns we have a chance to make our communities better. We can not only demand change but be a part of it.”
JUMAANAH SALAAM, Pleasantville
Salaam is one-half of the dynamic duo with Kamirah Hamlett Brown that created YOUnite, a networking and women’s empowerment event with a mission of bridging the gap between all women through events and upcoming merchandise. That mission is built upon empowerment and support. Salaam and Brown met in college in New York in 2016 and birthed the idea of YOUnite the following year. Salaam received her master’s degree of professional studies in global fashion supply chain management, where she gained the knowledge of importing and exporting goods internationally and domestically. The master’s also gave her the opportunity to study abroad in London where she took fashion classes at the London College of Fashion. She has previous work in production and product development with Ready to Wear company Yigal Azourel. During her spare-time, she volunteered for New York Fashion Week (NYFW) as a wardrobe stylist and event planner. Salaam is currently a production planner at Tailored Brands which is a men’s suiting company in the Fashion District of NYC.
REET STARWIND (Taylor), Camden
Starwind is an artist, educator and organizer in the Camden area working with the Center for Cooperative Media to elevate restorative narratives about Camden’s residents and history. He is the projects coordinator of Stories Invincible, an initiative to support restorative narrative reporting by and for communities of color in South Jersey. Stories Invincible aims to highlight stories from Camden-based journalists and media makers that fill information gaps and serve as symbols of hope and unite those who tell those stories for a transformative community experience. A graduate of Rutgers University-Camden, he specializes in digital media and society, and his career focuses on the connection between the two. As creative director of the Camden nonprofit, Watu Moja, he’s teamed with others to curate showcases of local Black art and organize artistic demonstrations of civil unrest, such as the Camden Arts For Change Justice March. He has served as a featured speaker at events for the City of Camden, University of Pennsylvania, the All Things Are Possible Foundation, and Camden’s Arts and Culture Heritage Society.
SAMANTHA WHITFIELD, Willingboro
Whitfield is the deputy mayor of Willingboro and the former president of the Willingboro and Vicinity branch of the NAACP. This past summer, she graduated from the nationwide NAACP NextGen leadership program. In 2017 she became the youngest branch NAACP president in New Jersey in addition to pursuing a master’s degree in city planning, graduating from the University of Penn in 2019. Samantha graduated in May 2019 from the University of Pennsylvania. Along with advancing her career, Whitfield maintained her commitment to service and began volunteering for Black Girls Run!, a nationwide organization that encourages and inspires African-American women to live a healthy lifestyle. She left corporate America and established her own business, Sass Society, LLC. in 2015 hosting women’s social and networking events as a resource to empower women to live their best lives by providing unique opportunities to connect with like-minded women, create memories, explore talents, learn new skills and better themselves and their community.
JASMINE WINTERS, Sicklerville
Winters is the coordinator and patient advocate for The Cherry Hill Women’s Centers. She is also the CEO and founder of Protect Your Peace, a black family-owned CBD and THC infused business. In her coordinator role for the women’s centers, Winters advocates for women’s reproductive rights to promote sexual and reproductive health, rights and justice through policy change and advocacy. Through her role as the CEO and founder of Protect Your Peace, she advocates for Mental health awareness, as it is her belief that it is an essential part of our overall physical health and satisfaction especially amongst the black community who suffers most from an increased rate of mental health concerns, including anxiety and depression. Winters has talked about her own personal struggles with anxiety and OCD led her to using CBD products, which became the inspiration for creating her own business to share the message and to shatter misconceptions.
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Note from AC JosepH Media: If you like this story and others posted on Front Runner New Jersey.com., lend us a hand so we can keep producing articles like these for New Jersey and the world to see. Click on SUPPORT FRNJ and make a contribution that will do directly in making more stories like this available. Thank you for reading.