This is the sixth profile in a series for the #dayinthelifejc JCI Instagram take over, brought to you by Honey and Moon Photography and the Jersey City Independent.
Meet Chris Gadsden: vice principal at Lincoln High School and community activist. Chris will be posting images of his #dayinthelifejc from July 25 through July 31. Be sure to follow him via the JCI Instagram feed (@jcindependent). Enjoy!
Chris Gadsden is the proud father of three beautiful girls and has been married to his wife Petal Gadsden for almost 15 years. Gadsden is a graduate of Jersey City schools including: James F. Murray Public School #38 (Class of 1988), Henry Snyder High School (Class of 1992), New Jersey City University (where he received a Bachelors in Sociology and History) and Saint Peter’s University (where he received a Masters in Education-Administration and Supervision in 2010).
Gadsden has been an educator in the Jersey City Public School system for 17 years and is currently the vice principal at Lincoln High School. His commitment to motivating students in becoming more responsible for their learning and being successful has been recognized and appreciated by administrators, staff, parents, students, and the community.
Gadsden considers himself a servant leader and is very much concerned about the condition of our community. He has been a member of different social and civic groups including the North Jersey Chapter of National Action Network, Progressive Leadership Opportunities for Tomorrow (P.L.O.T), the Jersey City Chapter of the NAACP, and The Royal Men Foundation.
Over the past year, Gadsden has focused on the well being of men in Jersey City. As a member of the Royal Men Foundation, he creates community initiatives to restore leadership qualities in men promoting honor, integrity, self esteem, and brotherly love throughout Jersey City.
“My commitment to family, faith in God, career, and community has helped to bless and encourage many people. Growing up in Jersey City has helped me become a well-rounded individual. Growing up was tough for me, but I depended on my family and community to help me get through the toughest times in my life. That’s why I believe it is my duty to contribute to the greatness of this city because I have to repay my family, friends, educators, community people and leaders who made a difference in my live,” says Gadsden.
Chris Gadsden, Vice Principal at Lincoln High School and community activist #dayinthelifejc Photo credit Tracey Luz
In your opinion, what is the most amazing thing about Jersey City?
The resilience of its people. I have seen people, especially my students, excel in spite of the challenges that have been presented to us. Jersey City residents are tough and can adapt and overcome obstacles when they come our way.
Can you give us a rundown on your basic #dayinthelifejc?
My life revolves around serving others. During the school year I am accountable to parents, teachers, and students. I am active in my church where I serve as a youth leader. My civic responsibilities have me accountable to making Jersey City a great community. However, my biggest responsibility lies within my family. I am dedicated in making my wife and children feel like they are appreciated and loved. (I hope it’s working.)
What would you like to see happen in Jersey City in the next five years?
I would like to see the current residents of the Bergen-Lafayette and Greenville communities empowered economically, socially, and politically. In five years, I would like to see a plan in action that will allow our current residents to invest in our community, improve our social conditions, and become a force politically to advocate for what is needed to improve our community.
Is there someone from Jersey City you always wanted to meet? Why?
I would love to have had a face-to-face conversation with the late Mayor Glenn Cunningham. It would have been great to have an in-depth conversation on topics such as the history of African-Americans in Jersey City, leadership and manhood.
What’s your Jersey City “hidden” gem?
My hidden gem in Jersey City is Lincoln High School. We get a bad rap because the social conditions in our neighborhood, but for over 100 years Lincoln High School has produced some the best people to have ever lived.
Where are you favorite places to go or things to do in Jersey City?
Liberty State Park is my favorite childhood park and the new bike lanes in Lincoln Park are great, plus it’s my daughter’s favorite park. I also love to watch high school football at Caven Point. Other favorite spots are Boulevard Drinks and Jerkin Chicken (I love to eat) and both the Hudson and Newport Malls (I also love to shop).
Do you have a favorite “Jersey City” story or memory?
One lasting memory is getting dressed in our best around Easter and going to the carnival, either at Dickinson High School or the Hudson Mall. We used to look forward to festivals like this every year, they were big with roller coasters and ferris wheels, they were similar to the state fair at The Meadowlands. We have to bring those types of family events back to Jersey City. I can also remember shopping for clothes, shoes, electronics, and music along MLK Drive. There were banks and restaurants along Jackson Avenue. One day, real commerce will return to MLK Drive.
Thank you for sharing your story with us Chris!
Want to be considered for the #dayinthelifejc JCI Instagram Takeover? Have questions? Contact: Catherine Hecht at checht(at)jerseycityindependent.com or Tracey Luz and Eric Brown at info(at)honeyandmoonphotography.com.
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