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Corporate leaders, educators, administrators, students, community groups, families, and volunteers from throughout the tri-state area descended on Buccleuch Park in New Brunswick, NJ, on June 14 to help raise funds for the American Conference on Diversity’s 14th Annual Diversity Stride Walk-a-Thon. Each year, the walk supports our signature youth leadership-development program called Lead for Diversity, a year-long initiative designed to promote unity, increase diversity awareness, and ensure respect for people of all races, faiths, ethnicities, sexual identities/expressions, and ages.

“Your fundraising efforts today help more schools throughout New Jersey send their students to our Lead for Diversity program,” said American Conference on Diversity President and CEO Elizabeth Williams-Riley. “Did you know that New Jersey has 44 hate groups, the fourth highest rate in nation? Our Lead for Diversity delegates create Action Plans that tackle issues of anti-bullying, anti-discrimination, and hate — they’re truly making a positive difference in our schools and communities!” (Read more about our Lead for Diversity program in the May/June issue of Profiles in Diversity Journal.)

The Diversity Stride fundraiser kicked off with a visit from Woodbridge Freeholder Charlie Kenny, heart-pumping music and prizes such as Trenton Thunder and Somerset Patriot tickets provided by New Jersey 101.5 radio station, face painting and balloon art by Patty Sweetcakes, African-Latin Fusion dance performances by students from Soul Xpressiion School of the Arts, followed by an energizing warm-up by St. Peter’s Healthcare System. In addition, walkers cast their votes for the student Diversity Stride Poster Art Contest. Awards were presented to:

David Persaud, a senior from Lincoln High School and a member of the Art Club, received the Ann Marley Spirit Award for creating a 79-inch-by-96-inch mural on display within the school’s corridors. With the help of his peers and art specialist Sona Yeghiazaryan, the artwork serves as a platform to end violence and promote unity. More than 100 students have signed the mural. “David’s actions have spoken volumes and made a difference in bringing awareness to change,” says Jersey City Public Schools Visual Arts Supervisor Ann Marley.

Tyler Ballon, a student of Carolyn Frazier at Henry Snyder High School in Jersey City. won first place in the Diversity Stride Poster Art Contest.

Xavier Alicea, also a Henry Snyder High School student, won second place.

Maya Sanders, another Snyder High student, placed third.

Missed the Diversity Stride Walk? We still need your help to reach our $100,000 goal. It’s not too late to make a donation to educate and empower tomorrow’s leaders. Go to today!

Special thanks to the Diversity Stride 2014 Leading Sponsor, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, for the company’s commitment to diversity and the American Conference on Diversity’s mission and vision. We would also like to thank New Jersey City University for hosting a silent auction of artwork that helped raise nearly $2,500! In addition, gratitude to the following for organizing teams and/or sponsoring Diversity Stride: ADP, BASF, BJ’s Wholesale, Costco, CRUNCH Fitness, Day Pitney, Investors Bank, L’Oréal USA, NAACP (Edison Branch), New Brunswick City Market, Presidential Heights of East Orange, NJ, PSEG, Psi Sigma Phi Multicultural Fraternity, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, ShopRite, St. Peter’s Healthcare System, Walmart, and Wegmans.

The American Conference on Diversity’s Lead for Diversity (LFD) initiative begins with a summer residential retreat experience. The program brings teams of students from high schools across New Jersey together. Students create action plans specific to their school district, which they implement throughout the school year. Each year, the LFD schools’ action plans impact an estimated 20,000 New Jersey students.

Experience our LFD summer session firsthand! Join us on Tuesday, July 15, for visitors’ day at the Pocono Environmental Education Center in Dingmans Ferry, PA, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Reporters are welcome to attend on July 17, when school advisors will be joining their students for action planning. Please contact Damica at 732-745-9330 or to register. Advance registration is required; no one will be allowed to attend without advance confirmation.

About the American Conference on Diversity

The programs, services, and initiatives of the American Conference on Diversity are among the most important work focused on creating a more inclusive society. It is the unfinished business of living in a highly diverse nation: educating and empowering our next generation of leaders; enhancing our workplaces; and helping to create inclusive communities. The American Conference on Diversity, which has been serving schools, organizations, workplaces, and communities in New Jersey since 1948, builds on a historic mission and creates programs and activities relevant and vital to 21st Century life. It is a journey we can all take together. The American Conference on Diversity operates Regional Community Networks covering all of New Jersey. Visit to learn more.


Gail Zoppo

Media Relations Consultant

109 Church Street

New Brunswick, NJ 08901