The Northern New Jersey Black Nurses Association (NNJBNA) was founded on April 19, 1988 by a group of six Black nurses interested in health promotion and illness treatment in their indigenous communities. The nurses were Ms. Pearl Anderson, Ms. Jean Clark, Ms. Carmen McCloud, Ms. Marie Meadows, Ms. Carletta Mitchell, and Dr. Bobbie Perdue. These nurses longed for an association that would nourish their ideals, support their activism, and promote the notion that collective wisdom is necessary to bring about positive change in the Black community. After deciding their dreams and aspirations could best be served by establishing a new chapter of the National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) within the northern New Jersey region, the nurses collectively developed goals for an organization which would work to improve the health needs of the Black community and promote unity among its members. The initial meeting was held at the home of Ms. Jean Clark where the group discussed the mission, goals, and what the organization would look like. At the fourth meeting, a motion to establish a new organization was made by Dr. Bobbie Perdue, and seconded by Ms. Jean Clark for the group to adopt the constitution and by-laws for the new organization. The group then voted to have Ms. Mitchell as their first president.
A reception was held on January 28, 1989, as a method of recruiting other Black nurses who shared their vision. As interest in the organization grew and the membership increased, NNJBNA received chapter status with the NBNA on August 12, 1989. The chartered members were: Ms. Wanda Alderman, Ms. Vernee Ball-Gibbs, Ms. Diane Brinkley, Ms. Theresa Brown, Dr. Veronica Clarke-Tasker, Ms. Evelyn Crews, Dr. Cynthia Degazon, Ms. Marnique Foster, Ms. Robbie George, Ms. Donna Henderson, Ms. Jean Jones, Ms. Theresa Kitchen, Ms. Diane Marshburn, Ms. Marlene Miles, Ms. Gail Morris, Ms. Valerie Shaw, Ms. Patricia Taylor-Hill, Ms. Deborah Walker-McCall, and Ms. Cheryl Underwood.
The organization has been very fortunate to be led by our eight dedicated Presidents who prioritized our mission and values. They are:
Ms. Carletta Mitchell (1989 – 1994)
Ms. Jean Clark (1994 – 1998)
Ms. Diane Marshburn (1998 – 2002)
Ms. Robbie George (2002– 2006)
Ms. Deborah Walker-McCall (2006 – 2010)
Ms. Sandra Baker (2010 – 2012)
Ms. Rosemary Allen-Jenkins (2012 – 2015)
Dr. Larider Ruffin (2015 – Present)
Over the past 28 years, NNJBNA has recognized and awarded over 75 Nurse Leaders in the community. NNJBNA has given over $88,000 in scholarship to well-deserving nursing students. We are dedicated to improving health care through advocacy and strategies.