SZA to Headline South Orange/Maplewood Coalition on Race 25th Anniversary March 29

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The South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race will be marking its 25th anniversary on March 29 with a virtual celebration, “The Pursuit of Racial Equity & Integration: A 25-Year Journey in Maplewood and South-Orange, New Jersey,” featuring a pre-recorded interview and musical performance by Maplewood’s own Grammy-nominated artist SZA.

SZA, better known to her Columbia High School fellow alumni as Solana Rowe, is the daughter of Coalition on Race Program Director Audrey Rowe. Mom and daughter will be featured in the pre-recorded interview, streaming for the first time for the March 29 event.

SZA and mom Audrey Rowe


Throughout the evening, the Coalition will reflect on its efforts to “create equity and preserve racial integration, highlighting the Coalition’s history of working to build a community where people of all races and backgrounds can participate fully in all aspects of civic life,” according to a press advisory for the event.Former Maplewood Mayor Fred Profeta, one of the founding members of the Coalition, told Village Green that the event “will describe what our troubled community was like in the 1990s.  It will tell the story of how the Coalition defeated the forces of steering, block busting, and white flight, and preserved the racial integration for which we are now well known.  Viewers will also learn of our dogged pursuit of true racial equity and inclusion, and we will encourage local residents to join us in that journey.”

New York Times’ article from May 18, 1997.

A virtual panel discussion will “explore the ups and downs of the past as well as measures to advance equity and stop resegregation in the future, providing a roadmap for communities with similar goals.” The discussion, moderated by Peabody Award-winning journalist and Maplewood resident Nancy Solomon, Managing Editor of New Jersey Public Radio and WNYC, will include panelists Profeta, Coalition co-founder Carol Barry-Austin, Coalition Executive Director Nancy Gagnier, and Trustees Kelly Quirk and Erin R. Scherzer.

The event will also include remarks from New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way.

“The Pursuit of Racial Equity & Integration: A 25-Year Journey in Maplewood and South-Orange, New Jersey,” will take place Tuesday, March 29, 2022, 7:30 – 9:00 PM ET. To register for the free virtual celebration, click here

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