By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media
DEPTFORD — Chesilhurst Mayor Jamila Odom Bremmer, Inspira Health Network Vice President Robyn Walton and Southern New Jersey Chamber of Commerce President Christina Renna were among the awardees at the annual Gloucester County NAACP Black & White Gala 2023 Community Game Changer Awards.
The prestigious gala and awards, one of the premier programs annually that highlights minority leaders and allies around South Jersey, drew a cross-section of political, business and nonprofit leaders along with influencers and supporters in the social justice communities. The festivities were held at Auletto Caterers, 1849 Cooper Street, in Deptford on Sunday, Oct. 29.
The winners represented a broad and diverse pool of honorees in the fields of education, entrepreneurship, labor, civil rights, community service, civic engagement, law enforcement, armed service veterans, media and journalism and young people.
Odom Bremmer, the first African American female mayor of Chesilhurst, Walton, the vice president for government and external affairs at Inspira, and Penna, who also serves as CEO of the chamber, were all recipients of the President’s Award, given by longtime Gloucester County NAACP President local diversity leader Loretta Winters.
“The fight for freedom free,” Winters said. “Many people gave their lives for the freedoms that we enjoy today. In fact, they gave their lives for the right to vote. This event recognizing community game changers was founded at a time of renewed hope and determination among African Americans, in the face of racial violence and tragedy.
“At a time in our nation’s history when our country is deeply divided, it is refreshing to know that here in Gloucester County, the NAACP continues to bridge the divide and creates and works with all people of goodwill to build a supportive and trusting environment, where we can all thrive as Americans with values that unite us, rather than divide us.”
Along with Odom Bremmer, Walton and Penna, other awardees included:
- Power Couple Award: Steven and Claire Riggs, Riggs, The Creative, LLC
- Power Couple Award: James and April Ward, Creative Content On Demand
- Lifetime Legacy Award: Philip Heath, Samaritan Health
- Community Game Changer Award: Sadiyyah Maamoom-Means. Cultural Collective Café & Brick N Kulture Events Venue, Woodbury
- Community Government Award: Anna Miller, Council President, Glassboro
- Community Service Award: Jennifer Turner, Councilwoman, Paulsboro
- Corporate Award: Gurmeet (Ashu) Singh, CEO Nimit Palace Restaurant
- Law Enforcement Award: Gary Kille, Chief of Police, Paulsboro
- Excellence in Education: Piera Gravenor, Superintendent, Delsea Regional/Elk Township
- Entrepreneurial Award: Lau’Renn McDaniels, Exclusive Barber Shop, Woodbury
- Faith Based Award: Semaj Hazzard, Youth Pastor, GC Community Church
- Making A Difference Award: Joann Gatnelli, Mayor, Washington Township
- Medical Award: Dr. Kavita Gupta, Pain Management
- Next Generation Award: Jordan Winters, Gloucester County Institute of Technology
- Veterans & Armed Service Awards: Rita Chappelle, Chief of Medical Media & External Affairs, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
“These are folks whose work and selfless contribution to diversity and inclusion in all aspects of our New Jersey community is worthy of recognition,” the Gloucester County NAACP said in a statement released before the gala.
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