The NAACP has long stood for civil rights, making sure that all citizens have equal opportunity in both the public and private sector. So it should come as no surprise that the Greater Vineland NAACP Chapter chose to recognize NJEA Vice President Marie Blistan at its 16th Annual Freedom Funds Awards banquet on September 17. The award pays tribute to the men and women of southern New Jersey who have worked tirelessly over the years in service to their communities.
On receiving her award, Blistan, along with her husband Bob, whom are both lifetime members of NAACP, stated, “The work we do really furthers the opportunities for the real heroes, whether it’s Martin Luther King, Jr. and E.B. Du Bois, or our contemporary heroes such as US Representative John Lewis and Trenton activist Edith Savage-Jennings, to shape our world and bring light to social justice issues. I am truly honored to be included in this movement.”
Blistan is a staunch supporter of educational equality for all students, and her efforts and accomplishments in the field of education for the past 35 years garnered her this recent honor. Blistan began her teaching career in southern New Jersey, teaching in Gloucester and Camden counties. She has held numerous leadership positions in her local associations, rising to the position of NJEA state officer, where she was now serves as vice president.
Throughout her career, Blistan has been instrumental in many service projects that directly impacted communities in southern New Jersey. Following Hurricane Sandy, Blistan was the lead officer on NJEA’s Hurricane Disaster Relief Fund and was also proud to coordinate with the NJ Firefighter’s Association on the Sandy Ground Project, which resulted in 11 playgrounds being built throughout the state. In 2013, Blistan worked with other public sector worker unions to help pass the historic constitutional amendment on minimum wage. Blistan continues to take the lead on the discussion of New Jersey’s education progress to provide the best experience possible for all public school children.