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Join the Union County Board of Commissioners to Celebrate Black History Month with Music and Chester Holmes Humanitarian Award

commissioners standing for a photo
The Union County Board of Commissioners Black History Month series continues on Sunday, February 28, with a musical celebration and presentation the annual Chester Holmes Humanitarian Award. Commissioners Sergio Granados, Bette Jane Kowalski, Andrea Staten, Lourdes M. Leon, and Angela R. Garretson presented the 2021 Chester Holmes award to Rene Rasheed (second from right) at her store in Roselle, Rene’s Fashion Designs Boutique. Photo by David Pilmenstein.

Rene H. Rasheed of Roselle has received Union County’s 9th annual Chester Holmes Humanitarian award honoring those who exemplify the spirit of community service.

Union County, NJ – The Union County Board of Commissioners is pleased to invite the public to attend a Black History Month celebration on Sunday, February 28, beginning at 6:00 p.m. The free online event highlights the presentation of the annual Chester Holmes Humanitarian Award, along with musical performances.

This year’s Chester Holmes award is presented to Roselle resident and business owner Rene H. Rasheed, owner of Rene’s Fashion Designs Boutique. Ms. Rasheed has lived in Roselle for 38 years and has run her boutique for 20 years while garnering numerous accolades for her civic involvement as well as her business.

“Rene Rasheed embodies the essence of the Chester Holmes Humanitarian Award. As a dedicated business woman and community leader, she demonstrates how one person can make a difference in so many lives, in her home town of Roselle and beyond,” said Board of Commissioners Chairman Alexander Mirabella.

“Ms. Rasheed has been recognized for her community contributions with the NAACP Role Model Award and the National Council of Negro Women Founders Award among many others, and we are all very proud to honor her as Union County’s own home town hero through the Chester Holmes award,” said Vice Chair Rebecca L. Williams.

“As a fellow Roselle resident, I have seen first-hand the positive and far-reaching role that Rene Rasheed has played in our community, always leading through kindness and strength. As Chester Holmes was known for his careful attention to style, it is all the more fitting to honor Rene – Roselle’s own Queen of Fashion – with this award in his name,” said Commissioner Andrea Staten.

“As we celebrate the Black history makers of the past, it important to also recognize and celebrate those who are making their mark today on our community, and on our country. Ms. Rasheed is an inspiring leader who has inspired and nurtured the next generation of Black history makers, and it is a real honor to recognize her with the Chester Holmes award, said Commissioner Angela G. Garretson.

The awards ceremony will begin with opening remarks by Vice Chairman Williams and an introduction of the Chester Holmes award by Chairman Mirabella, followed by a 30-minute prerecorded performance by violinist Priya DeBerry, who will be introduced by Commissioner Staten. To close out the evening, Commissioner Staten will introduce a one-hour prerecorded performance by Valarie Adams & the Dimension Band

The event is free and can be viewed online on the Union County Facebook page and Zoom. To join on Zoom, register at

The Board of Commissioners established the Chester Holmes Award in 2012, in honor of the former County Commissioner and Rahway resident Chester Holmes, who passed away in December of that year. An accomplished civic leader who loved the Union County community, Mr. Holmes was a former police officer, community volunteer and member of the Army National Guard.  He was the owner of his own company, Holmes Security, and a former Rahway Councilman.

Priya DeBerry seamlessly blends Gospel, Hip-Hop, and R&B into a unique, expressive style, raising the emotional level of special occasions and creating lasting memories through sound.

Valarie Adams & the Dimension Band broke onto the scene several years ago and quickly established themselves as top notch talent, known for their energy, spirited dance party vibe and extensive repertoire of classics and originals.

For more information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including the Drive-Through Test Center at Kean University, the Mobile Test Unit walk-up sites, vaccination information, emergency food distribution and other support services, visit General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at


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