BLOOMFIELD, NJ — In honor of Black History Month, at the Feb. 22 Bloomfield Council meeting, the mayor and council honored community residents who have given back to the greater Bloomfield community. These recognitions were held in conjunction with the Historical Society of Bloomfield.
Councilman Nick Joanow read a Black History Month Service Recognition proclamation in honor of New Jersey State Sen. Ronald L. Rice, who has served in the N.J. State Senate since 1986. Rice received an associate’s degree from Essex County College in police science, a bachelor’s degree from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in administration and planning, and a master’s degree from Rutgers University in criminal justice. He served as a sergeant in the U.S. Marines from 1966 to 1970 in the Vietnam War. Before entering politics, Rice was a Newark police officer for eight years. He also served 16 years on the Newark City Council from 1982 to 1998 and was the deputy mayor of Newark from 2002 until March 2006, when he stepped down as deputy mayor in order to run for mayor. He is also chairperson of the NJ Legislative Black Caucus and a major proponent of funding for the Bloomfield school system.
Councilwoman Sarah Cruz read a proclamation for Macayla Norman, a “vibrant, loving and caring student at Carteret Elementary School who loves reading music and dance, and is passionate about having her voice and thoughts heard when it comes to social issues.” Her poem, “The Poem of Love, Justice & Peace in Support of Black Lives Matter” was featured on TIME magazine’s Person of the Year 2020 special on NBC-TV in December. Norman read the poem aloud at the council meeting.
Cruz also read a proclamation for Pastor Christine Harris-Spivey, who was recognized for her contributions made in the Bloomfield community through her leadership at the Citadel of Hope Worship Center. Harris-Spivey has led numerous volunteer programs through the church that support Bloomfield residents, such as the Felicity Towers Holiday Luncheon, winter coat drives and meal deliveries in partnership with the Bloomfield Department of Health.
“During Black History Month, the township of Bloomfield would like to recognize the contributions that African Americans have made to Bloomfield’s economic, cultural, spiritual and political development by inscribing the honorees’ biographical information, stories and photographs into the Historical Society of Bloomfield,” Mayor Michael Venezia said.