July 10, 2019

Joint Effort 2019 Will Honor Locals In Week of Festivities

By Donald Gilpin

Looking ahead to next month’s action-packed week of educational, celebratory, and athletic events, reflecting this year’s theme of “Celebrating Life by Honoring Our Past, Recognizing Our Families and Lifting Up Our Town,” the Joint Effort Princeton Witherspoon-Jackson Safe Streets Program has announced its honorees for 2019.

During the August 3-11 festivities, John Broadway, Ida Belle Dixon, Cecelia B. Hodges, Laura Wooten (posthumously), Mamie Oldham, Bob and Barbara Hillier (Town Topics shareholders), and Minnie and Eric Craig will receive the 2019 Paul Robeson Spirit Award.

Leighton Newlin and Lance Liverman will be honored as the 2019 Witherspoon-Jackson Citizens of the Year, and Frances Broadway Craig and Cynthia “Chip” Fisher (posthumously) will receive the 2019 Jim Floyd Memorial Lifetime Achievement Awards.

The 2019 Mildred Trotman Community Service honorees are New Jersey Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker; Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert; Princeton Councilmen David Cohen and Tim Quinn; Princeton School Board Member Jess Deutsch; Mercer County Youth Advocate Grace Kimbrough; Princeton Housing Chair Alvin McGowen; Diversity Advocate John Heilner; Town Topics and this writer Donald Gilpin; and Witherspoon-Jackson Community Citizen Advocates Antoine Newlin, Ashley Hightower, Marshawn Ferguson, Richard Wilson Jr., and Tommy and Joanne Parker.

“The 2019 Joint Effort Princeton Witherspoon-Jackson Awards recipients are a quality group of individuals and all are well deserving of their Joint Effort Safe Streets honor,” said Joint Effort Safe Streets organizer John Bailey in making the announcement. “These 2019 honorees represent a cross-section of the town. They are inter-generational and each supports the Witherspoon-Jackson community and the town of Princeton.”

Shirley Satterfield, president of the Witherspoon-Jackson Historical and Cultural Society (WJHCS) and a member of the Joint Effort Safe Streets Host Committee, added, “WJHCS is honored to be a part of this year’s Joint Effort Safe Streets Program and is very happy to see that we are honoring our ancestors, champions in our community, our youth, and some community members posthumously. These honorees reflect who we could be in Princeton. They are a sample of the best of us and an important testament and statement about the potential for our town.” 

In addition to the awards presentation, there will be Joint Effort Book Scholarships presented in the names of Witherspoon-Jackson citizens to Denise Spivey (Stockton University), Zahrion Blue (Lincoln University), Hailey Young (Brown University), Skylar J. Hall (Hampton University), and Jaylen Johnson (Mercer County Community College).

This year’s celebration, the evolution of a program started by Bailey and Satterfield more than a dozen years ago, will open on Saturday, August 3, at 10 a.m. with the Laura Mitnaul Wooten Memorial Community Tribute at the Arts Council of Princeton (ACP). Wooten, at the time of her death last March 24 at age 98, was the longest continuously serving election poll worker in the United States.

On Sunday, August 4, the Joint Effort Gospel Fest at First Baptist Church will feature an evening of gospel music and the presentation of the Citizen of the Year and Paul Robeson Spirit Awards, and on Monday, August 5 at 5 p.m., the official Joint Effort Kick-Off Reception for the community and sponsors will take place at Studio Hillier.

An evening conversation about “The Future of the Town” with elected officials, candidates for office, educators, and other community leaders will be the featured event on Tuesday, August 6 at the Princeton Public Library; and on Wednesday, August 7, the ACP will host the Jim Floyd Memorial Lecture and the Cynthia “Chip” Fisher Memorial Art Exhibit.

The art exhibit and community reception at 5:30 p.m. will highlight artists Aaron Fisher, Romus Broadway, and Traci Hill, including a community collage by Broadway. Witherspoon Street Presbyterian Church Pastor the Rev. Dr. Lukata Mjumbe will present the lecture at 6:15 p.m., followed by the presentation of several awards and scholarships.

A free summer concert by T.S. Project at the Princeton Shopping Center at 6 p.m. will be the main event on Thursday, August 8; the Joint Effort Youth Basketball Clinic will take place the following morning at 10 a.m. at the Community Park basketball courts; and Friday, August 9 at 7 p.m. there will be a Joint Effort community and alumni reunion/reception/happy hour at the Elks on Birch Avenue.

The week-long festivities will wrap up on August 10 and 11, with a Black Church Historical Walking Tour, meeting in front of Waxwood Apartments at 9:45 a.m. Saturday; a community block festival at the Princeton YMCA field at 1 p.m. on Saturday featuring the Grace Little Band, 1st Baptist Church Choir, and DJ Darius; and on Sunday, starting at 10 a.m., the Pete Young Memorial Games at Community Park, a series of all-day basketball games for youth, both boys and girls.