Windsor, N.J. - Mercer County Community College (MCCC) kicked
off its celebration of African American History Month with
a spirited opening ceremony held in Kerney Hall at the James
Kerney Campus in Trenton on Wednesday, Feb. 1. Dr. Raymond
Broach, the interim superintendent of Trenton Public Schools
and former long-time superintendent of the Ewing School District,
was the guest speaker.
According to Lucia Brown-Joseph, coordinator of Mercer's African
American History Month programming and the college's bursar,
this year's theme, "Lifting as We Climb," emphasizes
the important role that successful African Americans can play
in helping others to achieve their goals. "My charge
is as you succeed, reach back and bring someone along with
you," Brown-Joseph said.
An African dance and drum troupe from The Garvey School of
Trenton performed first, led by the school's principal, Baye
Kemit, and his wife, Makeda Kemit. Following
the performance, MCCC President Patricia Donohue observed,"This
is a time to celebrate the wonderful heritage, traditions
and cultures of all the African Americans who have come to
next introduced guest speaker Raymond Broach, an MCCC alumnus
whose career as an educator spans 40 years.
has been an educator all his life," Donohue said. "He
gave up his retirement to come back and work with the children
of Trenton, making sure we have the quality education our
A native of Trenton, Broach shared some of his powerful personal
history. After his grandfather was murdered by the Klu Klux
Klan when his own father was just eight, the Broach family
moved north in pursuit of a better life. With 16 sisters and
four brothers, Broach noted that while his parents did not
have a lot to spare, they always emphasized the importance
"My father taught us that no matter what your background
or the color of your skin, we have the right to an education.
Don't let this jacket and tie fool you; it comes out of a
lot of hard work," he said.
proudly recalled that he started his college education at
Mercer. "I am so glad my parents helped me begin my journey
here," he said.
He encouraged the adults in the audience to become the mentors
their children need to become successful. "It does us
no good to just dream dreams," he said. "It's only
an opportunity if we make the effort to seize it for ourselves."
The Trenton superintendent also called upon educators to put
in the extra effort to help students. "Teaching and inspiration
doesn't begin and end with a clock," he said.
Broach's talk was followed by a luncheon of Southern style
food prepared by students from Mercer's Career Training Institute.
For information about other MCCC events this month that will
celebrate African American history, see the calendar here.
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