An event organized by Senator Menendez both to celebrate Black History and honor New Jersey’s community leaders, dubbed “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants,” drew several hundred people to the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Burlington City.
During the event, Menendez presented community service awards to Reva Foster, Willingboro’s longtime director of the Office of Aging and its head of community and veterans affairs, as well as NJEA member Loretta Winters, director of the Gloucester County NAACP and Camden County Freeholder Jonathan Young.
The event featured remarks from U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, Menendez and the church’s pastor, Cory L. Jones, as well as a poetry reading and musical performances by the Tabernacle Church choir and the duo, Nu Beginning Gospel.
“I call this event Standing on the Shoulders of Giants because I know my story — the son of refugees who grew up poor in a tenement in Union City and went to become one of 100 United States senators in a country of 320 million people — that would not have happened without the African American Civil Rights leaders who came before me and paved ways and made it possible for someone like me to be a United States senator,” Menendez said. “They are the giants who beckoned America to live up to its founding promise: that we are truly all created equal.”
Loretta Winters is not just the director of the Gloucester County NAACP, she is also a District Registrar and District Publication Writer for the Deptford Public Schools and a proud member of the Deptford Education Association. In addition to the award she received, Winters received a flag that had flown over the Capitol building in Washington DC, specially flown at Menendez’s request to honor Winters as a 2019 “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants” Honoree.
“I have known Loretta Winters for a number of years through our mutual work with the Gloucester County NAACP,” said Marie Blistan, NJEA president. “Loretta is someone who works tirelessly for equality and fairness, not just in our county, but in her school district and her school. The students and school staff, her fellow NJEA members, benefit daily from her hard work and efforts. This honor is beyond well-deserved and I am so proud to know Loretta.”
Under Winter’s vision and leadership, her branch won the NAACP State’s Unit Award and Youth Council Hands Down Membership Award. She has implemented the foundation for ongoing training for her executive board, started the first NAACP College Foundation at the Gloucester County College in honor of Freeholder Dr. Warren Wallace. Also under her leadership, the first State of New Jersey NAACP High School Unit was formed. Winters is also one of the founding members of the Gloucester County’s School Superintendent’s Equity committee that aims to build a culturally aware learning environment.