Sen. Menendez Celebrates Black History Month, Honors Local Leaders in 4th Annual Event

Sen. Menendez Celebrates Black History Month, Honors Local Leaders in 4th Annual Event

DHS Sec. Jeh Johnson Delivered Keynote Address to Hundreds in Newark

NEWARK, NJ - Hundreds gathered at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark yesterday as U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) commemorated Black History Month and the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act. The fourth annual event, titled "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants," attracted community, civic and elected leaders from across New Jersey.

"This year, we remember the sacrifices of African-Americans who marched for freedom, and the battle in Congress - 50 years ago -- to pass the Civil Rights Act," said Menendez. "Today, we celebrate the proud accomplishments of those who came before us, those in the vanguard of the Civil Rights Movement - the beacons of hope who continue to guide us."

The Hon. Jeh Johnson, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and resident of Montclair, delivered the keynote address. This year, Sen. Menendez honored the Association of Black Women Lawyers; the Garden State Bar Association; Executive Director Sherryl Gordon of AFSCME Council One; and the Hon. Gerald W. Owens, International General Organizer, International Longshoremen's Association, AFL-CIO for their advocacy on behalf of New Jersey families.

To download a copy of Sen. Menendez's remarks, please click here.

2014 Standing on the Shoulder of Giants Honorees:

  • The Association of Black Women Lawyers is the first women's bar association in the state of New Jersey. The most illustrious women in the bar and on the bench of New Jersey are our founders, members and supporters. ABWL is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that promotes and encourages the participation of women, particularly African American women, in the field of law. For over 30 years, ABWL has served as a link in the strategy to gain legal, educational, economic and social empowerment to enhance the quality of life for African-American women, our families and communities.
  • The Garden State Bar Association was created in 1975 to assist African-Americans and other ethnic minorities in becoming an effective part of the judicial and legal systems; to advance the science of jurisprudence; to improve the administration of justice; to support initiatives designed to improve economic conditions of all individuals; and to work to eliminate discrimination and inequality based on racial or ethnic considerations.
  • Sherryl Gordon is the Executive Director of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Council 1. With more than 30 years in the labor movement, rising through the ranks of union leadership to her position of prominence today, formally as the International VP, Eastern Region of AFSCME, and currently as the Exec. Director of New Jersey Administrative and Legislative Council 1, her philosophy is membership empowerment, diversity, responsiveness and innovation.
  • Gerald H. Owens is International General Organizer, International Longshoremen's Association, AFL-CIO. Mr. Owens has served as a Vice President of the New Jersey AFL-CIO and also holds an elected position as Vice President of the Essex West Hudson Labor Council, AFL-CIO. Mr. Owens serves as a trustee to the Management-ILA Health Care Fund and is a member of the labor-management Industry Resource Committee. He serves on the following New York Shipping Association-ILA committees: Audit and Delinquency; Contract Board; Container Royalty/Containerization Fund; Guaranteed Annual Income; Medical; Retirement; Vacation and Holiday; Pension; Money Purchase Pension; Labor Relations; Grievances and Arbitration; and Fringe Benefit Escrow Fund.