Green proves a special color for East Orange’s mayor

Photo by Chris Sykes
East Orange Mayor Ted Green, third from right, stands with 3rd Ward Councilman Berg Leneus, third from left, members of the Terrace Block Association and RL Scott of the East Orange Rotary Club on Saturday, Nov. 3, during a tree-planting ceremony. The tree was donated by the East Orange Rotary Club. Green had a lot to say about the merits of the color green at East Orange’s reorganization meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 1.

EAST ORANGE, NJ — When East Orange Mayor Ted Green hosted his first Black Tie Gala on St. Patrick’s Day 2018, he said his choice of date didn’t have anything to do with Ireland or people’s affinity for green.

Green spoke at the East Orange City Council’s annual reorganization meeting in Council Chambers on Tuesday, Jan. 1, and many in attendance said green is turning out to be a pretty good color for East Orange.

“Green is also a symbol of luck, so having Mayor Green in charge is a lucky day for East Orange,” Assemblyman Tom Giblin, who is Irish, said on Tuesday, Jan. 1, at the reorganization meeting. “This is my 14th year as an assemblyman. I was a freeholder some years ago and also a surrogate in Essex County. I get satisfaction about trying to help people and make our community a better place to be, to work and reside.”

Giblin said his New Year’s resolution for 2019 is “to stay healthy and continue to help people that need my help.”

“Any way I can be conduit, that’s what the purpose of an elected official is about,” he added.

Catherine Willis, the former East Orange Senior Services Department director, agreed with Giblin about the color green and the direction the city has taken with the mayor.

“I’m very proud of the progress that the city is obviously making. I congratulate the mayor and all of the council people who are working on behalf of the residents,” said Willis on Tuesday, Jan. 1. “Tom Giblin is everywhere. … He gets out and he represents. The Irish do the shamrock that’s green and I certainly agree that the city of East Orange is blessed to have Mayor Green.”

Imam Abdul Aziz, of Masjid As haabul Yameen in East Orange, said he came to the reorganization meeting to pray for everyone. He said the color green has special symbolism for Muslims, including Green, who is Muslim.

“I’m here to pray for them and pray for the city and pray for everyone and wish them happy New Year, good health, peace, love, security and prosperity,” said Aziz on Tuesday, Jan. 1. “Green is love and hope in Islam. I wish everyone a Happy New Year and good health and strong faith and higher level of spirit and love and prosperity.”

Kaleena Koon, an East Orange Recreation Department employee at the event, agreed that green is a good color for 2019.

“Green is a color of festivities as well, so it’s always a party when the mayor comes through,” said Koon on Tuesday, Jan. 1. “He makes it fun. He gets the job done and he just makes it a nice place to work. The city of East Orange is still a destination city. I mean, we’re the place to be. We’re growing and we’re going to get bigger over time. So just watch out for us.”

Green said he couldn’t agree more with Koon and that’s why his administration’s motto and promise to all of his constituents is “One City One Community with One Goal and that is Progress.” He also said it was appropriate that the council’s annual reorganization meeting was on the last day of the citywide Kwanzaa celebration, which honors faith; green and red candles are used during the holiday.

“This week in the city of East Orange, all of these dynamic speakers and presenters, we really have sent a message, in terms of our culture here and the spirit of those who live here,” said Green on Tuesday, Jan. 1, at the citywide Kwanzaa celebration culmination ceremony in the Council Chambers.

“We want to have programs like this every week in East Orange, because I think it’s important for our young people to really, really engage and understand the importance of their culture and embracing other cultures in the city of East Orange.