ELIZABETH, NJ – Elizabeth residents including students from the city’s S.O.A.R. program and representatives from the police department filled the City Chambers Feb. 6 to celebrate Black History Month at a ceremony, organized by Councilwoman-at-Large Patricia Perkins-Auguste.

The event, which began with a African-American flag raising in front of City Hall, attracted a large crowd that included Sheriff Joseph Cryan, Mayor Christian Bollwage, Council members Patricia Perkins-Auguste, Manny Grova, William Gallman, and Carlos Cedeńo, Board of Education members Charlene Bathelus, Stan Neron, Maria Carvalho, and Jose Rodriguez, and  representatives of the Elizabeth Chapter of the NAACP. The mayor presented a proclamation acknowledging Black History Month.

“Patricia Perkins-Auguste started this many years ago,” recalled Mayor Bollwage. “We raise flags for everyone. One day, she said to me ‘Mayor, why don’t we raise the African-American flag on the first Monday in February?’ That was the start.

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“Black History is about education. It is important that all of use learn something about Black History,” he continued.

The event included musical selections from Raven Dozier, Jamillah Ballet, and Kwao Taylor, a teacher at School 9. Featured speaker Kellie LeDet focused her inspirational talk on the children in the audience, but also told the adults to "Dream over them" meaning to encourage children to reach high.