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Dedication of Alonzo Sisco, Jr. Way

Updated: Sep 13, 2023

By Jennifer Ersalesi

On Saturday, September 9th, many members of the Rutherford community joined together to dedicate and rename Crane Avenue at the corner of Orient Way as Alonzo Sisco, Jr. Way.

Mayor Frank Nuziato greeted and welcomed everyone and introduced Councilwoman Maria Begg-Roberson who has been working with the Sisco family for quite some time to help put together this special event to honor Rutherford's first Black Councilman, Alonzo Sisco, Jr. Councilwoman Begg-Roberson formally welcomed specials guests Steve Tanelli and Mary Amoroso, Commissioners of Bergen County, Council members Ray Guzman and Stephanie McGowan, Pastor Sean Pate from Mount Ararat Baptist Church, and Bergen County's NAACP's President Junius Carter III.

Commander Charles Gunn

Pastor Pate and Commander Charles Gunn both lead prayers. Commander Gunn congratulated all of those who had the "dream, wisdom, and skill of mind to put this event together."

Aja Moye

Aja Moye beautifully sang both the National Anthem at the beginning of the ceremony and the Black National Anthem at the end of the ceremony.

Commissioner Steve Tanelli spoke about how well Rutherford honors its history and those who have helped to make Rutherford the Borough it is today. Commissioner Mary Amoroso explained how the renaming of the street will make sure that Councilman Sisco will always be part of Rutherford's legacy.

Glenn Elliot

Former Mayor and Councilman Glenn Elliot spoke about the short time he served on the Council with Alonzo Sisco, Jr. due to his untimely passing. He explained what a remarkable man his friend, Councilman Sisco was how much he believed in community and unity, and how he was a leader and friend to many. Elliot also commended Sisco on his commitment to inclusivity and diversity and allowing people of all backgrounds to be heard in the decision-making process.

Alonzo Sisco Jr.'s daughter Claudine said her father was a "doer, planner, thinker and teacher." She told a story about a day in 1979 when her father asked her to help deliver political pamphlets as he was running for re-election to the Council. She and her father each went to different houses in a neighborhood. After ringing one doorbell, a man came out and used racial slurs while explaining why he would not vote for her father. Claudine told her father what had happened and was quite shocked when she saw her father wave to that same man who had said all of those awful things shortly after the incident took place. When she asked him why he would wave to such a hateful man he shared these words of wisdom which she has carried with her throughout her life, "Each one, reach one. Each one, teach one." She explained that her father was charismatic, optimistic, and compassionate and he believed people can better society with the simplest of gestures (like that very wave).

Councilwoman Begg-Roberson introduced and welcomed the Sisco family, Sandy Sisco (Alonzo's widow and retired Pierrepont School teacher), Alonzo's children, Claudine and Alzie (Alonzo, III), and Alzie's wife, Catherine Sisco.

Councilwoman Stephanie McGowan held up and helped present the plaque that had been recovered and restored after being taken from the former Rutherford Police Station to Mrs. Sandy Sisco. A different plaque will be created to be placed in Borough Hall to honor Former Councilman Alonzo Sisco, Jr.

After the street name was revealed, "Taps" was performed by Mark Bershadsky, and the Black National Anthem was sung, Alzie Sisco said, "I hope you all know how cool this is to live on my father's street." He spoke about how touched his father would be by the outpouring of love from Rutherford.

After the ceremony, the Sisco family invited everyone to stay for a reception where food was donated by AnnaMaria Adinolfi, owner of Elia Restaurant and Annamaria's Deli.

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