Skip to main content

Essex Prosecutor‘s Office Community Relations Specialist Tapped as Leader of New NAACP Hillside Branch


NAACP said they are pleased to announce a new branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Hillside.

According to a statement released by the longtime organization that fights for civil rights, the township of Hillside has never had an NAACP branch until now. Ms. Nicole Graves-Watson is the founder and president of the Hillside branch of the NAACP.

"Black people in this country continue to be systematically disenfranchised. 

In the words of the prominent civil rights activist; Fannie Lou Hamer; I was sick and tired of being sick and tired by the disparities, so I decided to organize and form an NAACP branch in town to serve the entire community," said Nicole Graves-Watson.

Richard Smith, President, NAACP New Jersey State Conference, said, "I am confident that Ms. Graves-Watson and her team will stand tall and unrelenting in the face of hostility and will in good times and in bad. We stand for what they believe in and lend much-needed support to making freedom a reality for all, pushing for better opportunities for all members of the Hillside community".

"We welcome the NAACP into the township of Hillside. I look forward to future collaborations to meet the needs of our community," added Dahlia Vertreese, Mayor of Hillside. 

"Hillside NAACP looks forward to working with all elected township, county and state officials to bring positive change," continued Ms. Graves-Watson.

According to the NAACP, Ms. Nicole Graves-Watson, a 14-year resident and homeowner in Hillside, has a history of civil rights advocacy. She served as the president of the Black Students Association as an undergraduate student at William Paterson University. 

NAACP said Ms. Graves-Watson has a diverse career which includes journalism, social work, counseling, and community relations.  She currently serves as the community relations specialist for the Essex County Prosecutor's Office. 

Before joining the Essex County Prosecutor's Office, she served as a case supervisor with Essex County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). She advocated for children in out-of-home placement. 

After earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication, she worked as a caseworker with the former Division of Youth & Family Services, currently known as the Department of Children & Family Services. 

Ms. Graves-Watson also served as a freelance writer with Black Enterprise Magazine and The Source Magazine. Ms. Graves-Watson holds a Master of Arts Degree in Mental Health Counseling from Kean University. 

She is a wife and mother of two children. 

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is the oldest civil rights organization in the United States.

The NAACP was founded in 1909 to dismantle racism and accelerate change in critical areas such as criminal justice, healthcare, education, climate, and the economy. 

You can contact the Hillside NAACP at for further information.  

NOTE: NAACP New Jersey State Conference President, Richard Smith, is NOT the Chief Executive Officer of Metro Media Associates of NJ nor is he affiliated in any way with the parent company of RLS Media.