BLOOMFIELD, NJ – Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans, and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in United States history.

To honor the occasion, Service Recognitions were made to several community leaders for their dedicated service to the township during Monday night’s Bloomfield Council Regular Meeting.

Recipients included Senator Ronald L. Rice, Macayla Norman and Pastor Christine Harris-Spivey.

Since 1976, the month of February has been designated as Black History Month.  Black History Month is a time for all Americans to remember the stories and teachings of African Americans who helped build the nation and those who took a stance against prejudice to build lives of dignity and opportunity.

“During Black History Month, Bloomfield would like to recognize the contributions that African-Americans have made to Bloomfield’s economic, cultural, spiritual and political development by inscribing the honorees’ biographical information, stories and photographs into the Historical Society of Bloomfield,” said Councilman Nicholas Joanow.  “The Honorable Senator Ronald L. Rice represents the 28th District that includes Bloomfield, Glen Ridge, Irvington, Newark and Nutley, and is recognized for decades of community contributions made in New Jersey.”

Rice holds a master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Rutgers University and is the chair of the New Jersey Legislative Black Caucus and served in the Newark Police Department before entering politics.

Joanow continued, “among the many policies the Senator has supported, it is notable that Senator Rice was instrumental in working with the Bloomfield Board of Education and New Jersey Department of Education to secure the permits required for the expansion of Bloomfield High School and has also been a passionate advocate for the township gaining additional state funding for our schools.”

After receiving the Service Recognition, Rice stated, “I am very honored – I have been in government a long time and it has been a great experience for me, and I’d like to think that I have helped a lot of people in the township.  I will continue to fight for the things that are right.”

Councilwoman Sarah Cruz presented the next Service Recognition to grammar school student Macayla Norman.

“Macayla Norman is a vibrant, loving and caring student at Carteret Elementary School who loves reading, music, dance and is passionate about having her voice and thoughts heard when it comes to social issues,” said Councilwoman Cruz.  “To fully express her deepest feelings and thoughts on social issues, Macayla turns to her notebook and writes poems such as The Poem of Love, Justice and Peace in support of Black Lives Matter.”

Macayla’s poem was chosen to honor the Time Magazine 2020, Person of the Year, and last night, she read her thought-provoking poem to the council and the community during the meeting.

Councilwoman Cruz presented the final Service Recognition to Pastor Christine Harris-Spivey.

“Pastor Christine Harris-Spivey is recognized for her contributions made in the Bloomfield Community through her leadership at the Citadel of Hope Worship Center, founded in 2002,” Councilwoman Cruz said.  “The Ministry and Community outreach programs of the church are a priority for Pastor Chris and has led numerous volunteer programs supporting Bloomfield residents such as the Felicity Towners Holiday Luncheons, Winter Coat Drives and meal deliveries in partnership with The Bloomfield Health Department.”

“I have been a part of this community for 35 years, so to receive this honor means a great deal to me,” said Pastor Chris.

In other business during the meeting, a Proclamation was issued to recognize March 2021 as Women's History Month, as women have played and continue to play critical economic, cultural, and social role in every sphere of the life of the Nation by constituting a significant portion of the labor force working inside and outside the home.

“Women have played a unique role throughout history by providing the majority of the volunteer labor force of the Nation and were particularly important in the establishment of early charitable, philanthropic and cultural institutions in our Nation,” said Councilwoman Nina Davis.  “American women of every race, class and ethnic background served as early leaders in the forefront of every major progressive social change movement and women have served our country courageously in the military and continue daily as first responders.  Women have been leaders, not only in securing their own rights of suffrage and equal opportunity, but also in the abolitionist movement, the emancipation movement, the industrial labor movement, the civil rights movement, and especially the peace movement.”

Councilwoman Jenny Mundell announced plans for Women’s History Month activities in the township, including a Community Conversation via Zoom on March 31 at 7:00 pm about the impact of the pandemic on women.  Details for other events and activities will be announced soon.

Monday’s proceedings were held via video conference, and live-streamed on the township’s Facebook page, YouTube Page, and WBMA-TV.

Bloomfield Council holds a Conference Meeting on Monday, March 8, 7:00 pm, followed by a Regular Meeting on Monday, March 22, 7:00 pm.  Both meetings will be live-streamed to the community.