BLOOMFIELD, NJ – Bloomfield residents and local officials gathered at a celebration of Martin Luther King and the Reverend's legacy on Monday afternoon at New Light Baptist Church in Bloomfield.
The theme of the service, ‘A Knock at Midnight: a Community Answers,’ featured remarks from clergy leaders and elected officials, including Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill and Assemblyman Ralph Caputo.
Councilwoman Wartyna Davis, organizer of the event and the driving force behind the township’s MLK Day of Service initiative, hosted the celebration.
“I’m so excited to have our township’s 17th Annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration and it’s fitting that we do it here again at New Light Baptist Church because as a native born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama, I am very familiar with the types of churches that Martin Luther King was a minister at and was a part of,” said Councilwoman Davis. “The spirit and energy of those churches is definitely here at New Light.”
Davis then introduced Congresswoman Sherrill, who represents New Jersey's 11th congressional district.
“Thank you (Councilwoman Davis) for all of your help and support and all the help and support of Bloomfield -- this is such a wonderful town and I love coming here, it’s wonderful to be here,” said Congresswoman Sherrill. “Thank you, Reverend Miller, for welcoming me into your congregation today for this wonderful celebration and thank you Mayor (Michael) Venezia for helping create such a good town and all the members of the council for inviting me.”
Also present at the gathering were Mayor Venezia, Councilwoman Jenny Mundell, Councilman Nicholas Joanow, Councilwoman Sarah Cruz, Councilman Ted Gamble and Councilman Richard Rockwell.
“Today is a wonderful day not only in Bloomfield but in America as we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, who did so many great things,” said Mayor Venezia. “I am very proud of what the Township of Bloomfield has done over the course of the last couple of months collecting food and care packages like we did on Saturday.”
Dr. Djanna Hill-Tall, Steven and Lorajean Tice, and Councilman Joanow were honored for their exceptional service to the community.
“I want to thank Councilwoman Davis and our Mayor who has made this event flourish over the past number of years,” said Assemblyman Caputo. “When this event started 17 years ago, we had maybe three or four people in this place, and with the new leadership that we have, the event has been enhanced in the spirit of Martin Luther King.”
Reverend Ruth Boling of Bloomfield Presbyterian Church on the Green delivered the Keynote address.
The Township of Bloomfield began its annual six-week, community-focused Season of Giving on December 4 with the Christmas Tree lighting outside Town Hall and continued the Season of Giving with Saturday’s MLK Day of Service.
The MLK Day of Service Committee joined students from Bloomfield Middle School’s Builders Club and other volunteers in creating 1,000 hygiene kits for needy individuals during the day of service.
The committee is also on pace to reach its goal of collecting 5 tons – or 10,000 pounds – of food for local pantries.
Bloomfield’s Day of Service initiative began in 2014.
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