N.J. Chamber, African American Chamber to honor 3 tonight for diversity efforts

Well-known CEO Joe Jingoli, a group representing the Cape May Center for Community Arts, and Angel Santiago, the 2020-2021 New Jersey State Teacher of the Year, are being honored as “Champions of Diversity” on Thursday night in Cherry Hill during a cocktail reception co-sponsored by the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce and the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey.

The three are being recognized for their outstanding work to promote equal economic opportunity and diversity in the state.

The reception will take place beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cherry Hill. It is the second in a series of “Equal Opportunity Receptions” produced this fall by the New Jersey Chamber and the African American Chamber. The series culminates with a dinner gala in Edison on Nov. 10 to celebrate diversity.

“These events are not just celebrations, they are part of a mission,” African American Chamber founder John Harmon said.

“New Jersey is already one of the most diverse states in the nation. The time is now to make it the most economically inclusive state in the nation. No issue is more important to New Jersey’s economic health than creating a system where economic opportunity is available for all.”

The two chambers are working together to address the economic inequities that exist for Black citizens and Black business owners in the state. They are focusing their efforts chiefly on education, entrepreneurship and employment opportunities for people of color.

“This is a rallying call,” New Jersey Chamber CEO Tom Bracken said. “We must demand an end to economic inequities in New Jersey. We will challenge businesses in every corner of the state to do their part to change the status quo.”

The honorees:

  • Joe Jingoli, CEO, Joseph Jingoli & Son: Honored for the firm’s signature “Competitive Edge” program as worked at the Hard Rock Café in Atlantic City. The firm reaches out within the community and utilizes service, education and mentorship programs to provide job opportunities to community members.
  • Angel Santiago, fifth-grade teacher, Loring Flemming Elementary School, Gloucester Township: Honored for being named the New Jersey State Board of Education 2020-2021 State Teacher of the Year and for facilitating the Young People of Character program. Its mission is to bring together fourth- and fifth-grade students from all walks of life to serve their communities (e.g., writing letters to veterans for Veterans Day, cleaning up the school grounds for Earth Day and volunteering during the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service). He is a fifth-grade teacher at the Loring Flemming School in Camden County.
  • Center for Community Arts, Cape May, represented by Marga Matheny, Emily Dempsey, Judy Austermiller and David Mackenzie: The center is being honored for utilizing the arts to promote and teach the rich Black community history of Cape May County. The center is dedicated to discovering, preserving and presenting the African American history of Cape May County. The program creates annual exhibits including an Underground Railroad trolley tour and the Franklin Street School (an elementary school for Cape May’s African American children in the 1920s). The program also created panel discussions, presents African American Heritage Walking Tours and administers the growing John T. and Janet D. Nash Archives of African American History. CCA was founded in 1995 by 12 women artists and community activists (6 African American and 6 white), who met around a kitchen table over a six-month period.

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