New City, NY, – Rockland County Executive Ed Day and Commissioner of Human Rights Constance Frazier announced that three individuals have been inducted into the Civil and Human Rights Hall of Fame during the Civil Rights Hall of Fame luncheon in Nyack.
The 2019 inductees were selected from a list of distinguished nominees selected by the Human Rights Commission for making significant contributions to the advancement of equality, diversity, human rights and civil rights in Rockland County.
“Today we honor three individuals who have dedicated their lives to standing up for equality, even in the face of adversity,” said County Executive Ed Day. “These dedicated people have stood for the marginalized and have paved the way for equal rights among all local residents. This year’s inductees have acted on their convictions and truly made a difference here in Rockland.”
“Thanks to the tremendous efforts of these folks, Rockland residents have more resources to turn to when they need assistance. We can proudly say that while we live in the smallest geographic county in New York, it is the most diverse and we take pride in the diversity. I thank these inductees for the work they have done and what they continue to do to promote equality, diversity and human and civil rights here in Rockland,” said Commissioner Frazier.
The 2019 Rockland County Civil and Human Rights Hall of Fame honorees:
Paul Adler: A native of Rockland County, Paul earned his BA degree from Pace University, Master Public Administration from Long Island University with Honors, and Juris Doctorate from Pace University School of Law. In addition to his work in real estate, he held prominent positions in both the private and public sectors. Paul has been extremely active in his community and his industry over the years as a member and an officer of numerous governmental, public, civic, charitable and professional organizations in New York State. Including the following: Rockland Community Foundation, Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, Justice Brandeis Law Society Executive Committee, Holocaust Museum for Tolerance and Education Advisory Board, Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors – Legislative Steering Committee, Nyack Branch of the NAACP Executive Board and Rockland PRIDE founding Board Member.
Virginia Norfleet: “Ginny” was born in Haverstraw, N.Y. to the late Philip and Estelle Norfleet and is the youngest of 9 children. In 2005, Ginny purchased what she thought was a dilapidated house in the Village of Haverstraw to build her mother a home. During the demolition of this house, an unusual brick with a cross etched on the top was found, and this discovery changed the course of her life forever. The brick was the cornerstone of the First African American Church in Rockland County. With this discovery, Ginny founded a community organization called the Haverstraw African American Connection (HAAC). The mission of HAAC is to research, recover, preserve and teach the rich culture and contributions of African Americans with emphasis on the African American people of Haverstraw, NY. In the near future, HAAC plans to purchase and create a museum to display this rich history, artifacts, music and arts.
Barbara S. Williams: Barbara migrated from Anniston, AL, in 1962 to Piermont, NY, and later moved to Nyack. She graduated from Fordham University with a specialty in Children and Family Services and received her MSW. Barbara has an extensive background as a crusader for social justice and a long history of fighting inequality faced by both African Americans and women. In 1972, she was elected Chairperson of the Rockland Community Action Council. During her tenure, she advocated for low-income housing, equal employment opportunities, and founded the ‘People’s Movement for Political Involvement’ which focused on voter registration. In the early 1980’s, as Human Resource Manager, at Federal Paper Board Co., she was devoted to fighting for diversity in the workplace. Her career provided her an opportunity to work for equal rights by empowering those who were often marginalized. She continues to provide counseling and mentorship and shows how the efforts of one person can truly make a difference in fighting against discrimination and advancing human rights.
The Rockland County Civil and Human Rights Hall of Fame was designed to raise public awareness about human rights issues and to foster an environment for discussion and education regarding Rockland’s civil rights history and ongoing challenges.