essex county commissioners celebrate women’s history month

Essex County Commissioners Women’s History Month virtual ceremony

Honorees (top row left to right) Carolyn Thompson-Wallace, Executive Director of International Youth Organization; Linda C. Harrison, Director and CEO of the Newark Museum of Art; Natasha Pared, Principal of Rafael Hernandez Elementary School; and Garnet R. Hall, Deputy County Clerk of Essex; (Middle row left to right) Commissioner Robert Mercado; Clerk of the Board Deborah Davis Ford; Commissioner Vice President Carlos Pomares; Commissioner President Wayne Richardson; (Bottom row) Commissioner Patricia Sebold; Commissioner Brendan Gill.

(Newark, NJ) – On March 31, 2022, the Essex County Board of County Commissioners virtually held their Women’s History Month Celebration via Zoom teleconference.  The ceremony commemorated March as Women’s History Month and recognized the unique accomplishments of four outstanding Essex County women, while honoring the contributions of all women to our society as a whole.

Commissioner President Wayne L. Richardson began the program with opening remarks speaking to the importance of celebrating Women’s History Month, and acknowledging the significant historical contributions of women from the past and present. He stated, “Whether we are reflecting on the life of the recently deceased Madeline Albright, the first woman to serve as the United States Secretary of State, or standing in appreciation of Ketanji Brown-Jackson, who is poised to become the first African-American woman to serve on the Supreme Court – it is clear that Women’s History is a critical aspect of our Nation’s history.” He continued, “We simply would not be where we are today without the significant contributions of so many women from the past and present.”

This year, the Board recognized: Garnet R. Hall, Deputy County Clerk of Essex; Carolyn Thompson-Wallace, Executive Director of International Youth Organization; Natasha Pared, Principal of Rafael Hernandez Elementary School in Newark; and Linda C. Harrison, Director and CEO of the Newark Museum of Art.

Garnet R. Hall currently serves as the Deputy Clerk with the Essex County Clerk’s office. She supports Essex County residents and provides services ranging from passport applications to the swearing-in of New Jersey State notaries. Prior to serving as Deputy Clerk, she enjoyed a decorated career in Telecommunications for over 30-years and received many awards, certificates, and recognitions during her time as a sales professional. She is currently the Vice-Chair of the Maplewood Democratic Committee, and has participated in all aspects of organizing and strategic planning for the campaigns of Local and NJ State Legislators.

Carolyn Thompson-Wallace is a community organizer and published author from Newark who, through her service to the community, has earned the distinction as one of the premiere matriarchs of Newark.  While living in the Brick Towers Housing Complex in Newark, she was asked to assist in the area of tenant affairs and tenant placement. She also assisted with the Brick Tower Youth Association that conducted activities for young people residing in the area.  Due to the overwhelming needs of the youth, she organized the International Youth Organization (IYO). Her working experience includes serving as the Director of the Central Ward Multi-Service Center of Councilman Jesse Allen, the Director of the B.F. Johnson Civic Association, and time as a union representative in the garment industry with the International Ladies Garment Workers Union.

Natasha Pared is the Principal at Rafael Hernandez School in Newark and has over 18 years of experience in urban education which has been instrumental in developing her voice as an educational leader. She is a first-generation high school and college graduate whose educational career began as a first-grade teacher with the Orange Board of Education.  From there she grew into a model classroom teacher with the Children’s Literacy Initiative. As her career progressed, she took on the role of mentoring new teachers and leading professional development sessions. As a first grade teacher in Englewood, she became part of the Positive Behavior Support Team where she supported school-wide initiatives for the social and emotional development of students. She is a wife and mother of three children who graduated from Newark Public Schools, and continues to build and serve her community with the goal of making sustainable progress that improves teacher instruction and impacts student learning.

Linda C. Harrison is the Director and CEO of the Newark Museum of Art.  As Director and CEO, she plays a strategic and unifying role for the organization with the City of Newark and its fellow anchor institutions. She revels in communicating an inspiring vision that is inclusive, achievable, and ensures financial sustainability to strengthen and expand the museum’s ties to the community. During the first of her three-year vision plan, she established a new Senior Leadership Team and revamped the organization. In 2019, for the first time in over a decade, earned income was increased 25% over the previous year. Throughout her career she has received many awards including the Yerba Buena Arts Alliance Unsung Hero Award, the 11 Most Influential Women in the San Francisco Art Works Award, and the Rutgers Business School CEO Leadership Excellence Award. She enjoys book collecting and reading out of print design and architect books. She is also a classic film movie buff that loves to travel to Classic Film Festivals in Hollywood or on Ships at sea.

Reverend Dr. Eva C. Foster of the First Baptist Church of Irvington delivered prayers during the occasion, and the audience was captivated by a video of Alicia Keys performing “Superwoman”.

To view the event in its entirety, click here:

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For Additional Information – Contact:
Kyalo Mulumba, Public Information Officer
Essex County Board of County Commissioners
973-621-4452 (phone) 973-621-5695 (fax)
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Board of County Commissioners,
County of Essex
465 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.,
Room 558 Hall of Records,
Newark, New Jersey 07102