IRVINGTON, NJ — According to the Rev. H. William Rutherford Sr. of Greater New Point Baptist Church, the Irvington Chapter of the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network’s sixth annual Mother’s Day Breakfast on Saturday, May 12, in Christian Pentecostal Church on Clinton Avenue, was a success, although it did not take place at his church.
“We don’t compete,” said Rutherford on Saturday, May 12. “We’re here for the Mother’s Day Breakfast sponsored by the president of the Irvington National Action Network, Freeholder Lebby Jones. It was fantastic.”
Marilyn Rutherford, his wife and the mother of their son, the Rev. H. William Rutherford Jr., of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Orange, agreed the breakfast honored mothers and caregivers who are often the unsung heroines of urban, mostly minority communities such as Irvington.
“We support each other. … Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers. The Irvington National Action Network Breakfasts are always wonderful,” said Marilyn Rutherford on Saturday, May 12.
There was a sad note at this year’s annual event, however, because Jones announced she would be stepping down to allow at large Councilwoman October Hudley, N.A.N.’s newly elected president, to succeed her.
“It was Lebby Jones’ last event,” said Mayor Tony Vauss on Tuesday, May 15. “She understands. She said it’s time to turn this over to the young folks. I think it’s a great opportunity for Dr. Hudley to put her twist on things and push N.A.N. to even greater heights.”
Hudley also acknowledged the poignancy of Jones announcing that this year’s Mother’s Day Breakfast would be her last as Irvington N.A.N. president.
“She felt that it was important to pass the torch over to someone who could carry out her legacy with the Irvington National Action Network,” said Hudley on Saturday, May 12. “Last month, we had elections and I was voted as the president of the Irvington National Action Network. And I’m telling you, I will have some big shoes to fill, because Freeholder Lebby C. Jones, I look at her as my mentor. She’s a retired educator; so am I. She was also once a councilwoman for the township of Irvington; so am I. She was the founder of the Irvington branch of the National Action Network, which is a civil rights organization based on the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, and now I’m following in her footsteps as the president.”
Hudley said she has a heavy heart, due to Jones’ departure from the group she founded, but she’s also looking forward to getting to work as the new Irvington N.A.N. president.
“I’m looking forward to working with my executive board, which is Vice President Pastor Jerry Smith of this fine church, Christian Pentecostal; also secretary and Councilwoman at Large Renee Burgess; and the treasurer will be Roxanne Sayers from the clerk’s office,” Hudley said. “I have a nice, strong board and I’m looking forward to increasing the membership and also offering new programs. We’re looking for new members.”
Gloria Chison, the Irvington Senior Citizens Center coordinator, said she has already signed on to join the new Irvington N.A.N. branch.
“I am one of their newest members and I am looking forward to working with them,” said Chison on Saturday, May 12.
Vauss said, as sad as her speech in which she announced her departure from the local civil rights organization was, the rest of the Mother’s Day Breakfast was an overwhelming success.
“It was just a good event, like it always is every year since Lebby took over the chapter,” said Vauss on Saturday, May 12.
For information about joining the Irvington N.A.N., call 973-420-3780.