Throughout history, seemingly ordinary men and women have achieved the extraordinary and changed the face of history forever.
It's my belief that an extraordinary act is one which changes the world for better and drives inspiration into the hearts of others, and it is actions like these which shaped the face of America and motivated generations to rise.
On March 2, 1965, Charles Booker became the plaintiff in a case that would lead to the desegregation of schools in Plainfield, the State of New Jersey and all across America.
Booker vs. The Plainfield Board of Education sought to address the disparity in the level of education in "all-Negro schools" versus that in "all White schools." The petition sought to level the quality of education across all races by integrating the schools.
On June 28, 1965, the Supreme Court of New Jersey ruled in favor of Mr. Booker, and this led directly to the de-segregation of Plainfield schools.
Mr. Booker who is a lifelong resident of Plainfield continues to give back to his community, serving on several boards and commissions and remaining active with national organizations such as the NAACP. He still resides in Plainfield.
Nearly fifty (50) years ago, Neil Armstrong landed on the moon and uttered the famous words; "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" and our world was irrevocably changed.
But, Neil didn't just propel himself onto the moon; his landing was the culmination of years and years of research, and testing, and calculations, and co-operation to bring about that moment.
Marion Johnson was one of the Hidden Figures behind that moon landing... As a fresh-faced twenty-one (21) year old college graduate armed with a degree in math, she joined the team of Boeing as an Associate Engineer.
Her job for the Apollo mission was figuring out where the booster rockets would fall during the mission. As she proudly told ABC News in a recent interview, she was right twenty (20) times out of twenty (20), but in her mind, she was just doing her job. The job she did contributed to one of the greatest moments in human history. Marion Johnson resides right here in Plainfield.
Charles Booker and Marion Johnson are just two examples of Plainfield residents who have made remarkable contributions, not just to our community and our State but our great nation. They were just ordinary people like you and me, doing the right thing at the right time, and it led to extraordinary outcomes.
It is no small coincidence in my mind that both these stalwarts had a platform with a foundation of educational excellence as a propellant. Charles Booker fought for equal education because he recognized the power that lay behind information. Marion Johnson used her education to ensure a place for America and herself in the history books.
We are rightfully proud of the legacy these outstanding Plainfielders have given to us, and it serves to remind us that anyone can make a difference.
We must continue to fight for the education of our children in all its forms, and we must never discount the power that lays behind an ordinary person to effect change.
When you give your time to mentor and teach a child, you are doing something extraordinary; when you help an elderly neighbor, you are extraordinary; when you comfort those, who are homeless, hungry, cold, sick, you are changing the world in numerous irrevocable ways. We find true greatness through the small and ordinary things we do.
Plainfield, I lay the challenge down to every resident here to join me as we strive for the extraordinary by excelling at the seemingly ordinary jobs we do every day. And I remind you that the only way you won't make a difference is if you do nothing at all.
Creating One Plainfield, One Future...
Mayor Adrian O. Mapp
City of Plainfield