By: Richard L. Smith
Newark's own Wynona Lipman, a beacon of inspiration, made history in 1971 as the first African-American woman elected to the New Jersey Senate.Her remarkable tenure of 27 years stands as a testament to her unwavering dedication, making her the longest-serving member in the State Senate's history.
Born in 1923 in LaGrange, Georgia, to John Wesley Moore, Sr., a pharmacist and bricklayer, and Annabelle Torian Moore, Lipman's journey was marked by resilience and perseverance.
Known as the "Steel Magnolia" in the Senate, she often stood as the only woman in the room, navigating a world not yet ready for her trailblazing spirit.
Lipman championed the causes of those often overlooked – women, minority groups, children, and small businesses.
She fiercely advocated for broader domestic violence statutes and served on various influential councils and task forces, including the Governor's Council on AIDS and the New Jersey Court Team on Domestic Violence.
Her passing in 1999 due to cancer did not dim her legacy. The Senator Wynona Lipman Child Advocacy Center, or Wynona's House, was established in Newark as a testament to her life's work.
This non-profit organization has redefined support for abused and neglected children in Essex County, bringing together over 70 multi-disciplinary advocates to offer hope and healing.
Wynona's House stands as a symbol of Lipman's enduring impact, coordinating efforts across 22 municipalities of Essex County to support over 600 children annually.
Her legacy lives on, not just in the halls of the Senate but in the lives of countless individuals she touched and the communities she transformed. Wynona Lipman's story is one of courage, compassion, and unwavering commitment to making a difference.
INFORMATION & IMAGE CREDIT: njwomenshistory.com, The New York Times, Wikipedia
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