Hoboken NAACP Awards Dinner recap
Mason, Velez, Welch honorees of Civil Rights organization
The Hoboken branch of the NAACP held it’s annual Freedom Fund Awards Dinner last Thursday night.
President Gene Drayton welcomed the large crowd who came out to The Fiesta in Woodridge for the festivities. Among the local honorees, The President Barack Obama Political Achievement Award was presented to Hoboken City Council President Beth Mason for her dedication to good government, transparency and equality.
In her speech, Mason recalled her childhood in Virginia during the Civil Rights Era, and spoke of how important it is to work to give Hoboken’s children every opportunity to succeed.
Patrolman Josue Velez received The Glenn D. Cunningham Law Enforcement Award for his service to the Hoboken Volunteer Ambulance Corps, United States Army, and Hoboken Police Department.
Mayor Dawn Zimmer put Velez’s name on a layoff list while he was serving his country in Iraq.
He is in his fourth year of service on the HPD after several senior officers retired to save new patrol officers from losing their jobs.
H.O.P.E.S. Executive Director Ora Welch received the Joanne W. Jackson Community Service Award, while Deacon Hayes Battle of Mount Olive Baptist Church was given the Reverend Fred L. Shuttlesworth Religious Award. Joshua Amir Alexander – who grew up in Hoboken – was presented the Thurgood Marshal Education Award for his work as a Teacher at Madison Park High School in Roxbury, Massachusetts.
Mayor Dawn Zimmer presented brief welcoming remarks before making a point of getting up with nearly her entire table of guests and walking out just before State Senator Brian Stack presented the keynote speech. Council members Tim Occhipinti and Theresa Castellano stayed for the awards ceremony. Assemblyman Ruben Ramos and Freeholder Anthony “Pebbles” Romano also stuck around for the speeches and dessert.