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Despite a soggy start, the sun broke out on Saturday, June 6, when committed diversity and inclusion leaders and teams flocked to the American Conference on Diversity’s 15th annual Diversity Stride Walk-a-Thon at Liberty State Park in Jersey City.

One by one, participants and Diversity Stride team members – from fraternities and sororities to foundations and family members – lined up to take part in this fun day of fundraising that helps educate and empower tomorrow’s youth through our Lead for Diversity Institute.

“Your participation at the Diversity Stride fundraiser today allows us to teach young people how to live together, how to be better prepared to enter the work force, and how to navigate some of the complexities of diversity and inclusion,” said American Conference on Diversity President and CEO Elizabeth Williams-Riley during the opening remarks.

DJ Jesse jumpstarted the event with energizing music, followed by a breath-taking live performance by TerpsiXorians Hellenic Dance Group of New Jersey, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting Greek traditions and customs.

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While children lined up for face painting by Pattysweetcakes, sponsors handed out giveaways and participants and team members cast their votes for the annual Hudson County Diversity Stride essay and poster art contest. The Ann Marley Spirit Award was presented to:

► Tyriek Thomas (shown right), a senior at Snyder High School in Jersey City, for creating a series of images that communicate the meaning of diversity and respect.

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“Tyriek has gone above and beyond as an artist in the spirit of the award,” says Jersey City Public Schools Visual Arts Supervisor Ann Marley (center). “He has taken every opportunity to be open to new experiences, working in the summer arts program and visiting shows of fellow artists. Through his experiences, he has seen how tolerance and kindness have enabled him to grow as a person.”

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Additional winners include…

Christina DeCosta (1st place), a senior from Snyder High School (shown below, right)

Irene Pylostomos (2nd place), senior from Ferris High School (left, bottom)

Lawraine Kakilala (3rd place), another senior from Snyder High (left, top)


Walkers also enjoyed an energizing pre-walk warm-up by Ted Johnson from Complete Health Network.

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Didn’t make it to the Diversity Stride Walk? We still need your help to reach our $100,000 goal! You can demonstrate your support by making a donation here: http://americanconferenceondiversity.org/donate.

Special thanks to our Diversity Stride sponsors and partners: ADP, BASF, Complete Health Network, Inserra ShopRite, Investors Bank, L’Oréal USA, New Jersey City University, New Jersey Natural Gas, Provident Bank, PSEG, The Peace Corps, and Wegmans.

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Photography by J Foster Imagery

Proceeds from this event will help support the American Conference on Diversity’s Lead for Diversity (LFD) Institute. For the past two decades, LFD has been a cornerstone program that prepares youth to create inclusive workplaces, schools, and communities. LFD is has worked with 3,200 high-school students and more than 120 educational institutions throughout New Jersey to open the hearts and minds of tomorrow’s leaders.

LFD kicks off with a summer residential learning experience that includes small group discussions, workshops, and experiential learning activities on ability status, sexual orientation, body image, race, religion, gender, and other diversity-focused topics. Designed to build social-awareness, leadership, conflict-resolution, and human-relations skills, the six-day kickoff session equips delegates to recognize and challenge bias and oppression within their communities. During the week, students are joined by their school advisors to create diversity Action Plans that address challenges specific to their schools and/or school districts. Their Action Plans are then implemented throughout the upcoming school year to make positive social change. The successful implementation of these plans has the potential to reach more than 20,000 New Jersey students, educators, and community members annually.

Want to be part of our 20th Anniversary LFD summer session? Join us on Thursday, July 16 (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.), during “Corporate Volunteer Day” at the Pocono Environmental Education Center in Dingmans Ferry, PA. Volunteers will work with student teams and their advisors to brainstorm, develop Action Plans, and experience the transformative experience LFD has on communities. In addition to this important social-justice work, volunteers will also participate in our fun community rituals of “song fest,” interact with staff and students, and eat lunch with the LFD community. Space is limited and a $75 registration fee will cover round-trip transportation of volunteers and meals for the day. Please RSVP by June 15 to damica@AmericanConferenceonDiversity.org or 732-745-9330.

About the American Conference on Diversity

The American Conference on Diversity was founded in 1948 as the National Conference of Christians and Jews. Today, 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 builds on an 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 www.AmericanConferenceonDiversity.org to learn more.



Gail Zoppo

Media Relations Consultant

109 Church Street

New Brunswick, NJ 08901