WILLIAMSTOWN — The Gloucester County NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Color People), loves company. To its delight, plenty of company accepted the organization’s invitation to show up, not only to wish the new leadership team much success, but to meet and greet others who share the idea that we are all in this together.
Dozens of public officials, school personnel, chiefs of police, clergy and community members packed the Williamstown Library on Jan. 10. It was the perfect day to start another year in the good company of friends and supporters of the NAACP’s mission.
Sen. Fred Madden, Sen. Nilsa Cruz-Pérez, Assemblywoman Gabriella Mosquera, Assemblyman “Whip” Wilson, Assemblyman Paul Moriarty, Washington Township Mayor Barbara Wallace, Penns Grove Mayor John Washington, Deptford and Monroe council members, Cumberland County Jail warden Bob Balikci and police chiefs from Pitman, Greenwich, Logan, Paulsboro and West Deptford, mingled with the attendees and their presence showed their commitment to all the residents of Gloucester County.
Loretta Winters made sure everyone felt important and comfortable in the very diverse environment. Winters, known for always being sweet, helpful, and respectful to everyone she meets, extended a warm welcome to all who marked their calendars to show up.
Herman Winters, serving as master of ceremonies, introduced Minister Kenneth Scott, newly elected first vice-president, to give the invocation, followed by our nation’s pledge of allegiance led by Devon Walker. Christina Vázquez sang a riveting rendition of our country’s National Anthem and “Lift Every Voice” (known as the Black National Anthem).
Then, Dr. Warren Wallace, former Gloucester County Freeholder and newly elected at-large executive board member took to the microphone to acknowledge the elected officials and other notable personalities in attendance. Wallace is a man who always does his homework and finds jokes that fit the backgrounds or professions of the most prominent in attendance. He always makes everybody laugh.
Finally, the following newly elected officers were called and one by one, surrounded by family, to take their individual oath of office: Executive Members-At- Large: Ralph Ross, Sr., Eileen Lucarini, Phillip Warner, Sr., Kevin Byrd, A. Denise Witherspoon, Dr. Warren Wallace. The following followed suit: Loretta H. Winters, President, Min. Kenneth Scott, First Vice President, Evangeline Banks, Second Vice President, Wilfredo “Wil” Rojas, Third Vice President, Tiffany Grandison, Secretary, Katherine “Cat” Paige-Walker, Assistant Secretary, LaTanya Nelson, Treasurer, April Samuels, Assistant Treasurer.
“The Gloucester County NAACP has distinguished itself for working openly and together with our elected officials, our prosecutor, chiefs of police, educators, health care administrators and private business to solve Gloucester County problems and improve the quality of life for all residents,” said Winters. Phillip Warner Sr., a longtime Gloucester County NAACP #2345 branch member who has been on board since the beginning in the early 1990’s, added “If I never did another thing, I’m so proud and so humbled by what the branch became.”
Winters, reading from a prepared text, checked off all the accomplishments of the branch in the past year and spoke about the goals for the new year. She also made mention of some disturbing incidents that served to divide us rather than united us around strategies to improve Gloucester County for every resident. She committed to serve as that diplomatic leader that go to great lengths to bring people of all backgrounds together for a better and prosperous Gloucester County.
Membership Chair Wilfredo “Wil” Rojas, third vice-president and membership chair encouraged everyone who isn’t a member to join now at a reduced yearly membership fee of just $20, normally $30. “We are fortunate to recruit talented, hard-working residents who love Gloucester County and work hard to improve it.
The NAACP is open to anyone who believes that we are all equal in the eyes of God and our United States Constitution. In the Gloucester County NAACP, you’ll meet interesting people and make meaningful contributions to Gloucester County, one of America’s premier counties. Anyone interested in joining can email Loretta Winters at email@example.com or Wilfredo “Wil” Rojas at firstname.lastname@example.org.