Social Justice Awards @ Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey
Commissioner Rebecca L. Williams is the first openly LGBTQ+ Commissioner in the County of Union. She was elected to her first full three-year term in November 2019 and was re-elected in 2022. Also in 2022, she served her first term as Chair of the Board, thus becoming the first LGBTQ+ individual to serve in that role in Union County history.
During her term as Board Chair, Commissioner Williams presided over the opening of Tëmike Park, Union County’s first-of-its-kind inclusive park, with a rainbow archway, meditation labyrinth, plantings in rainbow colors, and purple playground equipment to signify anti-bullying.
In 2023, she was honored by the New Jersey Democratic State Committee’s LGBTQ Caucus for her advocacy, and in 2022, she was recognized as #1 on InsiderNJ’s annual “Insider Out 100: LGBTQ+ Power List.” In 2018, her first year on the board, she was honored by Governor Phil Murphy with a “Champion of Equality Award” for her distinguished leadership and activism on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community.
Commissioner Williams has been in the forefront of LGBTQ advocacy, working with the Union County Office of LGBTQ Affairs to address housing, senior services, education, health, public safety, community engagement, and other areas of concern. Prior to her election to the Commissioner Board, Williams served two terms on the Plainfield City Council where, as Council President in 2017, she hosted the first-ever Pride Month flag raising in front of Plainfield City Hall.
A frequent speaker on women’s and LGBTQ+ empowerment, Commissioner Williams has served on panels at The League of Municipalities, The Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers’s Eagleton Institute, The National Council of Negro Women, and Garden State Equality, among many other organizations.
Commissioner Williams prides herself on her openness and accessibility to all constituents. She remains a grassroots public servant, reaching out and following up with constituents to ensure their concerns are resolved.
This year, Commissioner Williams will be serving as Chair of the Board’s Fiscal Committee, and as a member of the Parks and Programming and Public Works and Facilities Committees, respectively. In addition, she will serve as liaison to the following advisory boards: Union County LGBTQ Ad Hoc Committee, Cornerstone Board of Managers, Motion Picture & TV Advisory Board, Union County Planning Board, Green Brook Flood Control Commission, and Meadowlink/EZ Ride.
Commissioner Williams is an Associate Professor of English in the Humanities and Bilingual Studies Division at Essex County College in Newark, where she teaches American and African American Literature, Women’s Literature, Survey of the Novel, African American Cinema, and English Composition.