In recognition of the many acts and projects taking place every day that enhance our communities, but don’t always receive general recognition, the Social Action Committee of the Ethical Culture Society of Essex County instituted a Local Heroes Award to be presented yearly to someone who has enriched the lives of our community and region. This year, the Local Heroes award is being presented to local activist Ingrid S. Hill.
Employed in higher education for over 36 years, Ingrid Hill worked as Associate Director of the Educational Opportunity Program at Seton Hall University and has taught college courses in the Department of Psychology, Department of African-American Studies and the Educational Opportunity Program. She has served as chair, co-chair, representative, advisor and member on numerous committees and councils. Moreover, she has presented workshops and seminars on education, youth leadership development, male/female relationships, diversity, community empowerment, crime, delinquency, violence and cross-cultural counseling.
Ms. Hill is also a long-standing member of the People’s Organization for Progress where she presently serves as both Corresponding Secretary and Vice Chair of Internal Affairs, and she has served both as the coordinator of the 381-day Daily People’s Protest Campaign for Jobs, Peace, Equality, and Justice, and as chair of the People’s Conference on the Fight for Jobs, Peace, Equality, and Justice. She is also a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and Leadership New Jersey. Ingrid has served as Vice President of the New Jersey Association of Black Psychologists, member of the Statewide Coordinating Committee for the Conferences on Reparations, and as Northeastern Representative in a nationwide study regarding the issues of testing and its implications for African Americans.
Ingrid Hill can be seen working for social justice at most of the important events and demonstrations in our region.
Speaker Lawrence Hamm has been a relentless advocate for African-American people and the cause of human rights for more than 30 years. Raised in Newark, New Jersey, he attended public schools and emerged at age 17 as a forceful and articulate spokesperson for the educational needs and aspirations of Newark students and the community. He was appointed to the Newark Board of Education, making him the youngest school board member in the United States. While at Princeton University (he received his Bachelor’s degree there in 1978) Mr. Hamm distinguished himself during the anti-apartheid movement by organizing student protests and calling attention to Princeton’s financial investment in apartheid South Africa. He helped organize the People’s Organization for Progress (POP), an independent, grass roots, political organization that is active in the Newark and northern New Jersey area. As chairman he has consistently worked toward building unity among community organizations. Through the efforts of Mr. Hamm, the struggle continues for quality education, employment opportunities, access to health care and against racial profiling and police brutality.