TRENTON, NJ, United States – As Liberians in the motherland celebrated Independence Day, diaspora Liberians also commemorated their nation’s founding. Liberians residing in the American state of New Jersey held a series of events to observe Liberia’s 171st anniversary.
The series of celebrations were organized by the Trenton Old Timers Association, a Liberian social organization in New Jersey, beginning with an all-night block party on Friday, July 27. On Saturday, a grand parade proceeded from Trenton’s Martin Luther King Memorial Monument to the Capital City Sports Complex, where celebrants took part in soccer and basketball matches.
Members of the Liberian community in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Rhode Island and other north-eastern states traveled to participate in the events. Trenton’s mayor, Reed Gusciora, also attended the events.
Gusciora congratulated Liberia on its 171st independence, noting that members of the Liberian community in Trenton were all part of a big Trenton family.
The mayor, who only took office on July 1, also announced that the president of the Trenton Professional Old Timers, Hector Weah, was a member of his transitional team.
He further promised that his leadership would include all races and religion and championed the idea of the city having cultural diversity.
“We can’t afford to leave anyone out,” Gusciora noted. “And today is just one example of people enjoying themselves and watching a soccer game.”
Weah hailed the mayor for selecting him to serve on the transitional team and promised to do his best in the interest of the city and its people.
Weah said he believes that his selection was based on his record of volunteering in the city. He called on other Liberians to see volunteerism as a path to development and true leadership.
“Being known today and selected by the mayor to serve on his transitional team is because of our work,” he said. “Sometimes when we say, ‘Do something,’ come and do something because it’s going to impact the lives of other people.”
He praised his fellow diaspora citizens for supporting their relatives back in Liberia amid the growing economic hardship. Weah said the challenges facing Liberia, including the declining economy, requires the contribution of all citizens, including those in the diaspora.
The Trenton Professional Old Timers Association also honored the Mayor for his contributions and commitment to the Liberian community with a Liberian traditionally designed shirt.
Featured photo by Gbatemah Senah