Senate President Stephen Sweeney
Deputy Speaker John Burzichelli
Assemblyman Adam Taliaferro

SNJ Today – Senate President Steve Sweeney congratulated honorees at the Salem County Branch NAACP Annual Freedom Fund Banquet, “Steadfast and Moving Forward,” on Saturday, April 14th.

“I want to congratulate all the honorees today,” said Senator Sweeney.

“There is a lot to celebrate here – adults who are making a difference serving youth, teaching, working in law enforcement, community service and ministry. As I was reading through some of the biographies, I was taken with the diversity of talents. For example, the Reverend Maerena Poole is not only a female pastor and a math teacher, but she served in the Army as an officer trained in bomb disposal and worked with the Secret Service.”

“The work of the NAACP is as important today as it was a century ago. That’s why we continue to fight against attempts to prevent any citizen from having access to polls. That’s why we want to make it easier for all citizens to register to vote. That’s why we must remain vigilant to ensure that no employee in New Jersey is ever the victim of discrimination in the workplace. And why – and this is most important – I am fighting hard to bring fairness to our public school funding formula in New Jersey. Everything begins with equal educational opportunities,” said Senator Sweeney.

The five adult honorees are:
· Thronna Busch, Youth Advocate Recipient
· Tim Gregory, Community Service Recipient
· Germer Ledford, Education Recipient
· Reverend Maerena Poole, Religious Service Recipient
· Darryl Saunders, Law & Public Safety Recipient

The four Rising Star recipients are:
· Tyrel Brown – Woodstown High School
· Ammonie Dredden – Shalick High School
· Jacelyn Rudderow – Pennsgrove High School
· DeAndre Sanders – Salem High School

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded in 1909 and is the nation’s oldest grassroots-based civil rights organization. In the 21st century, the NAACP is focused on economic opportunity, health care, education, voter registration and criminal justice reform, while remaining committed to its role as a legal advocate for civil rights.

The Salem County Branch NAACP was chartered in 1961.

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