I seldom write letters to the editor but this is a matter I feel strongly about, and I feel it needs to be addressed. Even though this letter is rather lengthy, I hope it can be published.
When I received my undergraduate degree and went "out into the world" and people learned I was from Hoboken, more often than not their comment to this revelation was "I didn't know Black people lived in Hoboken." Well over thirty years later I still hear the same comment, and the absence of city officials or official representatives of Hoboken at last Sunday's Hoboken Branch NAACP Annual Freedom Fund Dinner makes me wonder if Mayor Roberts realizes that we indeed are here in Hoboken and here 365 days a year, not just on election day.
On Sunday, April 4th, the NAACP honored the Past Presidents of the Hoboken Branch. Among those honored were two former Hoboken police officers, one of whom was the first Black officer appointed to the city's police department. Another honoree was the first Black man to serve on the Hoboken Board of Education. Another honoree was the first Black to serve as a Hoboken Housing Authority Commissioner and Vice Chairman and yet another honoree was the first Black to hold the position of Principal in the city's public school system.
All of the honorees have served the city and citizens of Hoboken in many capacities other than those mentioned here but one would think just those mentioned would warrant the presence of an official representative of the Mayor's office, a congratulatory letter to be read at the event or at least an ad placed in the program journal. The Hoboken P.B.A., Demarest Middle School, the Superintendent of Schools and Board of Education as well as Councilman Richard Del Boccio all saw fit to place ads in the journal. Many Hoboken businesses and family and friends of the awardees also placed ads in the journal. The Office of the Mayor of the City of Hoboken - no acknowledgement!
Please don't think this was an oversight because the Mayor's Office wasn't aware of the event. I personally contacted the Mayor's office via fax and mail to notify him and request the participation of his office. I also contacted the Housing Authority of the City of Hoboken because two of the honorees served for decades as commissioners, and I am happy to state that a number of Hoboken Housing Authority Commissioners were present; however, there was no response from the Mayor's office.
At the end of the Awards Dinner when the dignitaries in attendance were recognized one would have thought this was the Annual Freedom Fund Dinner of the Jersey City Branch of the NAACP. A congratulatory letter from the Chief of Police of Jersey City was read. Numerous members of the Jersey City government and the Jersey City Housing Authority were recognized, and I greatly appreciate their participation in this event. Dignitaries representing the Office of the Mayor of Hoboken were absent and unaccounted for!
Mr. Mayor if you want my support when you run for re-election, I want your acknowledgment of the good deeds and years of service of these Black citizens and past NAACP presidents of Hoboken, and I admonish all Black citizens of Hoboken to remember this monumental snub by the Mayor's office on their next visit to the polls.
The daughter of Hoboken's first Black Housing Commissioner.
Personal friend of each of the other six NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner Awardees.
Fifty-year Hoboken resident and, most importantly, registered voter.