Photo Gallery: Township’s West African Community Celebrates Democrats’ Victory And Their Growing Influence

West African Democratic Party 2016 Second - 39

Mayor Phil Kramer, front, stands next to Township Council members Kimberly Francois and Shanel Robinson and with members of the township’s West African community at a Jan. 9 celebration.

Several hundred members of the township’s West African community gathered Jan. 9 to celebrate their impact in the November 2015 elections.

Special guests at the event, held at the Holiday Inn on Davidson Avenue, were the local winners in the election: State Assemblyman Joe Danielsen, (D-17), Mayor Phil Kramer and At-Large Township Council members Shanel Robinson, Kimberly Francois and Rajiv Prasad.

Also in attendance were various dignitaries, ranging from the Rev. Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu, Sierra Leone’s minister plenipotentiary to the United Nations, to Union County Freeholder Mohamed S. Jalloh, to Somerset County Democratic Chairwoman Peg Schaffer.

Township Council members James Vassanella (D-Ward 5), Roz Sherman, (D-Ward 2) and Deputy Mayor Ted Chase (D-Ward 1), were also at the event.

Throughout the evening, members of the West African community spoke of their growing influence in the township, and of their work to help get the township Democratic slate elected.

Kramer thanked the community for their help in his election.

“I grew up a nerdy Jewish kid in Connecticut,” he told the crowd. “Never once did I think I was West African. Now, I know I’m West African.”

Drawing on the immigration experiences of many in the community, Danielsen spoke of his grandfather’s first trip to the United States from Italy. The West African community, like his grandfather, brought to this country “the soul” to contribute to America, he said.

Robinson, Francois and Prasad thanked the crowd for their help in winning the election.

Following are some scenes from the event:

West African Community Celebrates Democratic Victories


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