Celebrating Black Contributions, One Person Who Helped So Many
“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.“
“Sobriety is the key to emancipation.”
- Frederick Douglass
Since we are nearing the end of Black History Month, I wanted to talk about one black man who has worked in alcohol and drug education. I had the pleasure of interviewing Mercer Council's very own, Cy Jones.
He first started off his career as someone who knew the other side of the work we do. He struggled with a substance use disorder periodically throughout his life at the beginning of attending university. After graduating university, Cy found himself with a pervasive substance use disorder for a number of years, weaving in and out of recovery centers. He struggled with his substance use disorder for about twenty years. After some time, Cy finally found his footing in NA and AA meetings with his sponsor and religiously attended them to stay on his path to recovery.
Cy worked with a number of legislators and community organizations to educate the public on HIV and its condition over the years at the Mercer Area Early Intervention Services as an HIV & Addictions Counselor/Educator. Through the interactions with community organizations and community members, Cy had started to really see the overlap between HIV and substance use disorders. With this realization paired with personal passion and drive to improve health outcomes, he wanted to make an impact on prevention and intervention in these areas. He had his next career step at the Rescue Mission of Trenton. He eventually made his way to the Mercer Council on Alcoholism and Drug Addiction for the Juvenile Justice Commission as a full time evaluator, and has been with us for 10+ years.
For the past 20+ years, Cy has been dedicated and committed to his community. He has always advocated for members of the community who have been historically oppressed and underrepresented. While understanding the nuances of his community and being a part of it, Cy knows what he is up against. He has spent most of his life advocating for health and wealth inequities, as well as systems in place set against historically marginalized and under-represented communities.
History can be made with every intentional act. History can be made by serving communities and using our stories to drive us forward onto a path for positive change. Every intentional act, no matter how small, can create monumental ripples of transformation. Change is found in the everyday acts we do. It can be the small actions that propel us forward into serving our community in the fields we have chosen. Cy’s story serves as a reminder that our journey evolves. Cy lived history and created it by leaning into hoping and healing- with each step of his journey, his hopes and dreams had changed. He tapped into his experiences and used it to inform his actions. While he has lived a life with twists and recoiled turns, his story serves as a reminder that voices, faces, and experiences - of all kinds- of people who are in recovery and actively seek it, are integral and necessary to the discourse of substance misuse and prevention.
We are fortunate to have him with us and celebrating Cy, as one of the many people giving back to their community is an honor. Thank you, Cy Jones, for your contributions to our agency and your community.
Cy has been planting many seeds in the community for a number of years, many of which have bloomed and blossomed. We are so fortunate to celebrate Cy, his recovery, his voice and his contributions to our agency and to our community! Thank you, Cy, for all that you do!