Menendez Hosts Ninth Annual Black History Month Celebration

Menendez Hosts Ninth Annual Black History Month Celebration

House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries delivers keynote address


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Hundreds of New Jerseyans joined U.S. Senator Bob Menendez on Sunday at Grace Temple Baptist Church in Lawnside, Camden County for his Ninth Annual “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants” Black History Month Celebration, honoring State Senator Troy Singleton (LD-7), Lawnside Mayor Mary Ann Wardlow and the New Jersey Chapter of The Links, Inc. Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.-08), the House Democratic Caucus Chair and former Whip of the Congressional Black Caucus, delivered this year’s keynote address.

“Let us take inspiration from the efforts of brave African American men and women who led the fight to build a more just nation. Let us educate and cultivate a new generation of civil rights leaders. Let us turn our protests into action. Let us organize our communities, and come this November let us vote our values,” said Sen. Menendez. “For we are truly blessed to follow in the footsteps of the heroes we honor during Black History Month – from Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman to Dr. King and John Lewis and all the giants, sung and unsung, known and unknown. Let us remember today that we stand on their shoulders. And in doing so, let us stand a bit taller, reach a bit higher and be a bit bolder in fighting for the free and just America we know we can be.”

“Black history is American history,” said Rep. Jeffries. “Black History Month is a critical opportunity for us to honor the freedom fighters, civil rights leaders and trailblazers that came before us, while recognizing the challenges we continue to face as a community and as a nation. Senator Menendez should be thanked for his leadership in this regard.” 

Congressman Donald Norcross (N.J.-01) also attended the celebration and delivered impassioned remarks. Camden County Freeholder Jonathan L. Young, Sr. served as this year’s master of ceremonies.

“Black History Month is a time to honor the pioneers of the Civil Rights Movement and celebrate the incredible contributions of African Americans to our nation and democracy,” said Rep. Norcross. “This is also a time to reflect and recommit ourselves to the continued struggle for equality and justice. While we learn from the lessons of our past and find inspiration from the generations of icons and advocates like Dr. King, my friend, colleague and Civil Rights leader Rep. John Lewis and many more, we must also continue to empower today’s young leaders who carry on the fight for equal opportunity for all.”

Sen. Singleton, Mayor Wardlow and the New Jersey Chapter of The Links, Inc. were honored for their commitment to supporting, empowering and celebrating New Jersey’s African-American community.

Black History Month 2020


State Senator Troy Singleton (LD-7)

Burlington County

Senator Troy Singleton has devoted his life to public service in government, political and policy posts at all levels. His rapid rise to the highest levels of management in the New Jersey Legislature and as an elected official is a testament to his widely praised talent for assessing, developing and implementing legislative responses to major public policy challenges.

Singleton began his career as Legislative Director for New Jersey Assemblymen Herb Conaway and Jack Conners in the district he would come to represent. He also served as Deputy Executive Director of the New Jersey General Assembly Majority Office and Chief of Staff under the highly respected Assembly Speaker Joseph J. Roberts, Jr.

In 2011, Singleton was elected to his first term in the New Jersey General Assembly, representing the 7th Legislative District. Elected to the New Jersey Senate in 2017, he now serves on the Senate Community & Urban Affairs (Chair), Economic Growth (Vice Chair) and the Budget & Appropriations Committees.

During his time in office, Singleton has had a significant number of proposals signed into law including his proposals to overhaul New Jersey’s economic incentive programs, upgrade our facilities of higher education to attract and retain the best and brightest of our state, establish the Helmets-to-Hardhats pilot program to help unemployed former military personnel find jobs in the construction industry and create a Small Business Loan Program to allow small businesses to be eligible for low interest rate loans to expand. His primary focus remains on job creation, economic development and the needs of New Jersey’s working families. Singleton has received numerous awards for his public service and legislative acumen from business, education, civic, labor and non-profit organizations.

Senator Troy Singleton holds a degree in business administration and finance from Rowan University. He is a devoted husband and father of three who has long included personal involvement in his community as an essential component of his life.


Mayor Mary Ann Wardlow

Lawnside, Camden County

Mary Ann Wardlow is the first elected female Mayor of the Borough of Lawnside. Wardlow has been involved with numerous community organizations including the Finance, Insurance and Personnel Committee, the Public Safety and Judiciary Committees, the Lawnside Federal Credit Union, Fourth of July Committee, Mount Peace Cemetery Board and the Camden County Mayors’ Association, as well as a being a council member for over 27 years and a Brownie and Girl Scout Leader.

Working with members of the Lawnside Council, Wardlow has been instrumental in securing funds for the Public Works and Wayne R. Bryant Senior Citizens Recreational Buildings, bolstering public safety, bringing ShopRite to Lawnside after the closing of Pathmark and working with the Lawnside School Board of Education to ensure that residents support the children.

Over the years, she has been honored to receive acknowledgements from D.A.R.E., the OEO Head Start Policy Council, the Federation of Women, the NJ Association of Minority Real Estate, Continental Societies, Inc. and the Camden County Mayors’ Association, among others. She was recently awarded the 2019 Camden County Freedom Medal. 

Wardlow tries to live up to what her mother instilled in her to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and you will be obeying all of God’s commandments.

Mayor Mary Ann Wardlow and her husband, Earl, have resided in Lawnside for over 46 years and care deeply for their community. They have had the opportunity to get to know the residents personally, and have been involved with various civic organizations within Lawnside and Camden County. They raised two daughters in Lawnside, and have five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.


NJ Chapters of The Links, Incorporated

The Links, Incorporated, founded in 1946, is one of the oldest and largest volunteer service organizations of women who are committed to enriching, sustaining and ensuring the culture and economic survival of African Americans and other persons of African ancestry. 

On the evening of November 9, 1946 in Philadelphia, Margaret Hawkins and Sarah Strickland Scott invited seven of their friends to join them in organizing an inter-city club. This was the first meeting of The Links. These women were already involved with other organizations, such as sororities, business and professional associations, NAACP, the Urban League and Jack & Jill, and were invited to become linked in this club of friendship. The vision was to form an organization that would respond to the needs and aspirations of Black women in ways that existing clubs did not.

The thrust was threefold: civic, educational and cultural. The club would implement programs that would foster cultural appreciation of the arts, develop richer inter-group relations and help women to understand and accept their social and civic responsibilities. They structured the club with officers and dues were 50 cents per month. In 1949, at the First Assembly, The Links became a national organization with 14 chapters located in 10 states. Today, there are 12,000 Links in 274 chapters, representing 42 states, the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.

There are 9 chapters in New Jersey: Atlantic City, Bergen County, Central New Jersey, Essex County, Morris County, North Jersey, South Jersey, Rancocas Valley and Raritan Valley.