Community Service Award
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Committee Of Elizabeth
On January 19, 1986, the Elizabeth Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Committee was officially organized. The committee was led by Ms. Chessie Roberts, Ms. Gloria Jones, Pastor Grayson of Liberty Baptist Church, Pastor J. Wendell Mapson, Jr., of Union Baptist Church, and Pastor Joseph H. Garlic of the Elizabethport Presbyterian Center. Under their leadership and the entire group of African American pastors and community service organizations in Elizabeth, the first City-Wide Ecumenical Service honoring the Dream and Legacy of Dr. King began.

The goal was to have one city-wide celebration that would recognize the accomplishments, the leadership and the on-going challenges America faces in uniting each of us as a nation of one people with a program that would be inclusive of all races and nationalities regardless of color, creed, or national origin.
Dr. King’s dream was deeply rooted in the American dream. He dreamed that “one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal;" and he also dreamed “ that when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty.”

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Committee of Elizabeth continued to hold on to Dr. King’s dream for the past 32 years. The committee has had several chairpersons, since the founding chairpersons, Ms. Chessie Roberts and Ms. Gloria Jones, who guided the MLK committee for the first ten years. The torch was then passed on by Chessie Roberts to strong African American leaders in our community. In 1996, passed to Rev. Rodney T. Francis and Belinda Scott Smiley; in 1997, passed to Larry Body, Georgia Jones-Orr and Carolyn Cole-Sabur; in 2007, passed to Larry Body and Yolanda Eady-Perkins; in 2013 passed to Yolanda Eady-Perkins and Rod Spearman; and finally in 2017 the torch is passed to Rev. William Ingram, Pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church, Elizabeth.

The Elizabeth MLK Committee has a rich history and a strong commitment to the future of teaching, training, motivating, educating and helping not only the City of Elizabeth but the County of Union understand the meaning and legacy of Dr. King and the work that stills need to be done. We believe “All God’s People Matter.”