GBCA held its annual spring gala on April 6, 2016 at The Terrace in Paramus, where six outstanding women leaders were honored with the Lois A. Braithwaite Community Advocacy Award. The Spring Gala is GBCA’s major fundraiser each year and was created to celebrate the legacy of late GBCA Board Chair Lois A. Braithwaite. Money raised from ticket sales and basket raffles at the event was used to award 32 local youths with scholarships so that they may continue their education.
The Advocacy Awards are a way of recognizing people who embodied Lois’ community spirit and caring for the plight of the disadvantaged. The gala celebrated the passion and strength of the women who, each in their own way, demonstrate the power of community leadership every day. Although each of their stories is different, they have one thing in common: they work hard to change the lives of the families in their communities. Read more about these amazing women and their accomplishments below:
After her husband, Jersey City Firefighter Mark Lee, passed away, Cheryl Lee dedicated herself to helping children and families in and around Jersey City. In 2014 Cheryl, along with the Jersey City firefighters, started the Captain Mark V. Lee Sr. Memorial Fund. Cheryl also represented the city on the GBCA Jersey City Head Start Policy Council for two years.
Elected to the State Senate in 2011 and re-elected in 2013, Nellie Pou navigated many of her prime-sponsored legislative initiatives into law. Senator Pou also serves as the Vice Chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee and is a member of the Senate Budget and Judiciary Committees.
Jersey City champion Gloria Robinson is a lifetime advocate for the Jersey City Housing Authority, former Head Start Social Worker (for 32 years) and Jersey City Housing Commissioner. She took on an instrumental role in the A. Harry Moore housing reform. In 2009, she received one of the biggest honors of her life when the “Gloria Robinson Court Homes” were named.
Elected to the NJ General Assembly in 2011, Shavonda Sumter represents the 35th District. While in college she worked for Assemblyman Frank Cantania, Sr., who was serving as Deputy Speaker of the NJ Assembly. She is a dedicated community servant and the recipient of numerous awards and citations recognizing her accomplishments as an agent of change.
The late Lizette Parker was the first female African-American Mayor of Teaneck and the first in Bergen County after being elected in May 2014. Her proudest accomplishment was the reestablishment of the Youth Advisory Board which addresses the needs of the township’s most precious residents, its youth.