Town of Hempstead Celebrates African-American History

African American History Month
Supervisor Kate Murray and members of the Town Board thank Rev. Eric Mallette, Pastor of the Greater Second Baptist Church of Freeport, for delivering the keynote speech at the town's Annual African-American History Month celebration.

Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray, Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby and the entire Town Board today hosted Hempstead Town’s annual African-American History Month Celebration in the Nathan L. H. Bennett Pavilion at Town Hall in Hempstead.  The theme of the 2015 celebration was “Moving Forward . . . With Purpose.”

The Town of Hempstead’s African-American History Month Planning Committee hosted the cultural program, which featured musical selections and inspiring speeches. The committee paid tribute to two community leaders: Jackie Jones-Ford with the Community Service Award and Joyce Shackley, 1st Vice President of the NAACP with the presitgious Rosa Parks Award.  Also, 15 Town of Hempstead employees were honored for their twenty-five years ofservice to residents of America’s largest township.

“Our committee always has the difficult task of selecting two award recipients, and this year was no different,” Murray said. “We’re proud to present two deserving honorees with this year’s African-American History Month awards.”

“I’m truly proud to celebrate the achievements of our award recipients,” Goosby said. “Our Community Service Award, winner Jackie Jones-Ford, is a true leader and trailblazer,  and our Rosa Parks Award winner, Joyce Shackley, personifies the legacy left behind by the great civil rights champion.”

Jones-Ford is a 19-year veteran of the Village of Hempstead Police Department. She started her law enforcement career in 1995 with the New York City Housing Department. Currently, she is a detective with the Hempstead Police Department in the Juvenile Aid Bureau. Jones-Ford is also director of the Hempstead Police Activity League (PAL).

Shackley, a retired 35-year data entry manager for King Kullen Supermarkets, is a life member of the Hempstead NAACP. She has been active for the NAACP for more than 25 years and is now the organization’s 1st Vice President. Shackley has also volunteered in an array of organizations, including as coordinator for the Village of Hempstead’s beautification project, commissioner of the village’s Parks Department, the AARP Hempstead Chapter #5234 and as membership chair of the Central Nassau League of Women Voters.

The program also featured a keynote speech by Reverand Dr. Eric Charles Mallette, Pastor of the Greater Second Baptist Church of Freeport. Mallette, who served in the United States Marine Corps, is widely known for his inspirational sermons and his involvement in the community. Rev. Mallette, who has served as pastor of the Greater Second Baptist Church of Freeport since 1998, was the first African-American chaplain for the Village of Freeport’s police and fire departments.

“I thank Rev. Eric Mallette for gracing us with his inspiring words at today’s ceremony,” Murray said. “I’m delighted that our residents join each and every year to celebrate the co-ntributions that African Americans have made to our township and to our country.”