The Annual Hudson County Black History Month Celebration Awards Dinner honors local African Americans who have served their community with distinction.
Hudson County Executive Craig Guy will join Vice Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners Jerry Walker, County Register Jeff Dublin and a host of other elected officials and community leaders to recognize Hudson County’s 2024 Black History Month Honorees at the Black History Month Celebration Dinner to be held at High Tech High School in Secaucus tomorrow evening at 6 pm.
“I was honored to nominate my dear friend, Florence Holmes, for this year’s Coretta Scott King Humanitarian Award, and pleased that the Hudson County Black History Month Committee confirmed the nomination,” said County Executive Guy. “I look forward to joining our Vice Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners, Jerry Walker, Register Jeff Dublin, and other county and municipal officials and community leaders as we salute all our Black History Month honorees at this wonderful annual event.”
Vice Chairman Walker, who serves as a member of the Hudson County Black History Month Committee, noted how valuable events like the Celebration Dinner remain, even in an evermore fast-paced, online-driven world.
“Taking time to understand who we are as individuals requires each of us to understand and appreciate our heritage and our place in history,” said Commissioner Walker. “Our Black History Month honorees’ remarkable stories of courage, creativity, and compassion we will celebrate tomorrow night remind us how that place is shaped and re-shaped for the better every day—right here in Hudson County.”
The Hudson County Black History Month Committee accepts nominations for five traditional countywide awards recognizing the service and achievements of local residents in keeping with the theme of that year’s celebration. This year’s theme is “African Americans and the Arts.”
The Hudson County Black History Month Celebration Dinner will include oratory and musical performances from Hudson County Schools of Technology students and an invocation and benediction by the Rev. Chester Banks of Jersey City.
The 2024 Hudson County Black History Month Honorees are as follows:
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Drum Major Award: Demetrius
Terry, of Kearny. Mr. Terry is a former aide to two New Jersey state legislators and served as the Executive Director of the Greenville Health Access Coalition, a non-profit organization that fought to expand healthcare access for local residents. He now works in property management for a real estate development company and remains active in local community affairs with a focus on bipartisanship and encouraging more participation by younger and LGBTQ voters in local politics.
The Coretta Scott King Humanitarian Award: Florence Holmes of Jersey City. Ms. Holmes has won countless previous awards for her remarkable half-century of service to her community. She currently serves as the Director of the Mary McLeod Bethune Senior Center in Jersey City, the Vice Chairperson of the Hudson County HIV/AIDS Planning Council, a member of the Jersey City Parks Coalition, a member of the Jersey City Golden Door Rotary Club and as a Eucharistic Minister at St. Patrick’s Church, where she has been a parishioner since 1970.
The Rhudell Snelling, Sr., Community Service Award: Jovina Johnson of Jersey City. Ms. Johnson, a resident of Jersey City for more than twenty years, serves as President of the Journal Square Community Association (JSQCA). She is the first African American woman to lead the JSQCA as President. Ms. Johnson has been active in community redevelopment in the Journal Square area as a property owner and member of the JSQCA since 2019.
The Hudson County Public Service Award: Sgt. Steven Rhodes of Bayonne. Sgt. Rhodes has served for a quarter century as a member of the Bayonne Police Department. As a detective, he worked as a member of the Detective Bureau, the Narcotics Unit, and the Juvenile Aide Bureau. Today he serves as the Community Outreach Officer in the office of Bayonne’s Police Chief, Robert Geisler. In that role Sgt. Rhodes works closely with the city’s Community Policing Unit as well as community organizations and local clergy. He is a member of the Bayonne Branch of the NAACP, Bayonne PAL and the Bayonne Community Center.
Outstanding Hudson County Healthcare Award: Joan Dublin of Jersey City. Ms. Dublin holds a B.S. in Nursing from New Jersey City University and a Masters in Public Administration from Seton Hall University. Since 2007, she has served as President & CEO of Metropolitan Family Health Network. In that role, she increased the number of patients served and created health-provider partnerships to expand access to better and more affordable care for local residents. Ms. Dublin has served as Chair of the New Jersey Primary Care Association, Jersey City Medical Center’s Senior Director of Patient Care Services, and as Executive Director of Jersey City Family Health Services.
Residents can learn more about this event by contacting the Hudson County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs at 201-459-2070 or online at: www.visithudson.org. The Celebration Dinner is free and open to the public.