CHS Welcomes Black History Month Activists

Over the course of this past week CHS celebrated Black History Month with an African American Speaker Series. Starting on Tuesday, February 21, freshmen listened to an activist speaking on his experiences, choosing love, and spreading positivity. Continuing throughout the week each grade level participated in the event with its own set of speakers. Each speaker had his or her own unique background that either connects them to New Jersey or Cinnaminson. Detailed below is information about each visitor and their history.

Freshman Speaker – Troy Singleton

Troy Singleton is an American Democratic politician who is a Senator for the 7th Legislative District in New Jersey. Singleton has held this position since January 8, 2018. Singleton served in the New Jersey General Assembly from November 21, 2011, until he took his current position as Senator. 

Singleton was born June 30, 1973 in Philadelphia, PA. He graduated from Willingboro HS and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and finance from Rowan University. 

Singleton is a member of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, and serves as the President of the New Jersey Carpenter Contractor Trust. Singleton has been the Executive Director of the NJ Democratic State Committee since 2001. He was the commissioner of the Burlington County Bridge Commission from 2009-2020. He was also a part of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority from 2009-2011, and was a member of the Rowan University Board of Trustees from 2005-2011.

One of Singleton’s most notable achievements in the Senate was in 2021 when he sponsored legislation that would legalize accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in New Jersey, which would enable homeowners to turn parts of their homes into an extra apartment.

Singleton is married to his wife, Megan Singleton, and has three children. Singleton currently resides in Palmyra, NJ.

Sophomore Speakers – Petal Robertson & Eric Jones

Petal Robertson not only has been Secretary-Treasurer of the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) since 2021, but she is also a high school English teacher in the Montclair School District. Before this, she was the President of the Montclair Education Association (MAE) from 2017 to 2021. She has held other positions before, including vice president, negotiations chair, and social committee chair with the MAE as well. 

Throughout 2018 to 2021, working with the state of NJ, she was a member of the NJEA Delegate Assembly, NJEA Pandemic Response Subcommittee, the Property and Personal Committee, and the NJEA PAC Operating Committee. Despite the many leadership roles she has held over the years, she continues to not only be a leader, but a helper.

In 2017, she co-founded Restorative Justice Montclair, which was a plan to reform the district’s school discipline. In 2020, she also founded two other programs. Vision andVoices Program helped hundreds of NJEA members find their power in the association. The 8:46 Project brought together different community and union members to spread awareness to fight for racial, social, and economic justice inside and outside of the school community.

Eric Jones is the Field Representative at the New Jersey Education Association. He is also one of the directors of the NJEA members of color. Members of color is an inclusive group that fosters comfort and community with educators of color, as well as allies. The group has expanded to spread information in multiple counties, including Burlington and Cumberton County. Established in 2019, this organization has grown to 3,000 people state wide.  Recently the group held its first Members of Empowerment conference this past November. Jones’ specialty is organizing events for NJEA members of color and building unity among its members. Before his efforts in New Jersey, Jones taught at a school in Atlanta.

Junior Speakers – Fabien Brown & Thomas Bell

According to LinkedIn, Fabien Brown is in business development and music business. She’s been in the direct sales industry for seven years and the music industry for 20 years.  She is a mother of 10. Brown has a nonprofit that discusses ways to bring local businesses together. She used to teach music at CHS. The article, Cinnaminson Native Finds Professional Success On NYC Stage, describes a former CHS student that is now a performer in NYC who credits Brown for her success and for helping her when she was younger and she was still teaching.

Senior Speakers – Dr. Denise King 

Dr. Denise King was an educator for 30 years, having spent nine years in Camden, three years in Willingboro, and 18 years in Burlington Township. She retired as principal of B. Bernice Young School. Dr. King is also an author. She has published a book Unshakeable Faith. Dr. King’s goal is to empower, educate, and inspire students and peers to carry on in the face of inequity, racism, and discrimination.

Thomas Bell*is a former CHS student, actor, and entrepreneur. His Linkedin profile details his experience as the founder and CEO of B3 Media Solutions. According to their website,B3 Media Solutions “is a social media management, social listening, brand/media monitoring, social intelligence research, and analytics agency.”

Bell studied theater at the University of Maryland and at the performing arts program at Freedom Theater in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Bell also has an IMDb page that lists the extensive productions he has been involved in. This includes his appearance in an episode of “Criminal Minds,” a popular TV show that aired for over 15 years

Tuesday Speakers – Valerie Still & Dr. Clarence B. Jones

Valerie Still attended Camden High and Cherry Hill East before she was recruited to play basketball at the University of Kentucky. She became a three time All-American and still holds the University of Kentucky career records in scoring (2,763) and rebounding (1,525).  After her time at the University of Kentucky, she played professional basketball for more than 15 years. After retiring from playing, she became a WNBA assistant coach. Now Still works as an advocate for the youth. She is the co-founder of the Dr. Clarence B. Jones Institute for Social Advocacy and is a recipient of the Jefferson Award.

Dr. Clarence B. Jones is a lawyer and the former personal counsel, advisor, draft speech writer, and close friend of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Jones was born in Philadelphia and attended Palmyra High School. He attended  Columbia University for his B.A. and Boston University of Law School for his LL.B.