2021 Honorees - Shirley Chisholm Breakthrough Leaders

We are pleased to recognize Marie Blistan and Shavonda Sumter as the recipients of the 2021 Shirley Chisholm Breakthrough LeaderAward.  

Shirley Chisolm, the first Black female member of the United States Congress and first woman (and first African American) to seek a major party nomination for president, was an educator and a legislator who rose to power and prominence because of her commitment to social and racial justice and her refusal to be defined or limited by the stereotypes, prejudices and expectations of others.

As the immediate past (two-term) president of the New Jersey Education Association, Marie Blistan defied expectations blazing a trail as an educator, labor leader and political powerbroker who advanced the interests of her members while acting as a force for progress for millions of working families in New Jersey. 

As a prominent and accomplished legislator representing the 35th district and as the first female chair of the powerful NJLBC, Assemblywoman Sumter is well poised to further break boundaries, defy expectations and provide statewide leadership around the critical issues of racial justice and economic opportunity for millions of New Jersey’s poor, working class and middle class families of all backgrounds.

We look forward to working with President Blistan and Assemblywoman Sumter as they continue to defy expectations as and as we advance the cause of social justice, civil rights and equal opportunity for all of our children, families and communities.

Awards will be presented during the conference: School Segregation in New Jersey - A pandemic of inequality & lost opportunity on Friday, September 24 • 10:00 am to 3:00 pm at The Conference Center at Mercer in West Windsor, NJ with Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, the first recipient of  Shirley Chisholm Breakthrough Leader Award.

If you would like to purchase a sponsorship in honor of one of both of the honorees please go here. 

 To Register for the Conference School Segregation in New Jersey - A pandemic of inequality & lost opportunity please go here.