July 31, 2019

Wooten Tribute Kicks Off W-J Celebrations

By Donald Gilpin

A community tribute for Laura Mitnaul Wooten, hosted by the Wooten family, on Saturday, August 3 at 10 a.m. at the Arts Council of Princeton Paul Robeson Center will launch this year’s week-long Joint Effort Princeton Witherspoon-Jackson Safe Streets Program.

Wooten, who died at age 98 in March of this year, was the longest serving — 79 consecutive years — election poll worker in the United States.

Saturday’s event will include a Community Salute Brunch at 10 a.m., followed by a Tribute to Laura Wooten Recognition Program at 11:30 a.m. celebrating her life through a historical display of videos, pictures, proclamations, articles, awards, personal stories, and other memorabilia and recognizing her service to the local, state, and national efforts to encourage citizens to vote.

Joint Effort Safe Streets has also announced the panel for its Tuesday, August 6 critical issues discussion on the future of Princeton. The community dialogue taking place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. will feature an introduction and perspective on the future of Princeton by Princeton Future Chairperson and Princeton Design Guild Architect Kevin Wilkes, followed by a response panel discussion.

Panelists will include Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert, NJ Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, Princeton Councilman David Cohen, Princeton Public School (PPS) Board of Education Member Jess Deutsch, businessman and former Councilman Lance Liverman, Witherspoon-Jackson Neighborhood Association Chairman Leighton Newlin, PPS Superintendent Steve Cochrane, architect and Studio Hillier Principal Bob Hillier (a Town Topics shareholder), Princeton Transportation Committee Chair Dosier Hammond, architect and JZA+D Managing Partner Joshua Zinder, businesswoman and Council candidate Michelle Pirone Lambros, Princeton Affordable Housing Committee Chair Alvin McGowen, and Princeton Planning Board
member and Council candidate Mia Sacks.

The discussion on key issues and future trends in the Princeton community will include the topics of sustainability, affordable housing, education, race relations, cannabis, the year 2020, transportation, historic preservation, and the question “What will Princeton look like in the year 2050 and beyond?”

At the event, Lempert, Zwicker, Deutsch, and Cohen will be presented with Mildred Trotman Community Service Awards.

Among the prominent events of Joint Effort Safe Streets later in the week will be Witherspoon Street Presbyterian Church minister the Rev. Lukata Mjumbe delivering the second annual Jim Floyd Memorial Community Lecture at the ACP on Wednesday, August 7 at 6:30 p.m., speaking on “Social Justice in the Current Landscape.” The lecture will be preceded by a community reception at 5:30 p.m. and the Cynthia “Chip” Fisher Memorial Art Exhibit with works by local artists Aaron Fisher and Tracey J. Hill and a community collage of Witherspoon-Jackson photographs by Romus Broadway.

A highlight in the final weekend of 2019 Joint Effort Safe Streets Program will be the W-J Historical and Cultural Society dedication of four heritage plaques at the four historic black churches in  Princeton on Saturday, August 10. The celebrants will meet in front of Waxwoods Apartments on Quarry Street at 9:45 a.m., proceed to each of the four churches, and then attend a community reception at 30 Quarry Street following the last ceremony.