TRENTON, N.J. -Mercer County celebrated the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. today with a ceremony featuring remarks by honored guest Janetta Marbrey and County Executive Brian M. Hughes.
A large crowd gathered at the County's McDade Administration Building on Jan. 15, Dr. King's birthday, to listen to Hughes' thoughts on Dr. King and Marbrey's speech on the influence of the civil rights pioneer on her own life.
"We as a County don't care all that much about where you've been, but we care desperately about where you're going," Hughes said. "It's something Dr. King believed in, and that is a better future for all of us."
Marbrey, the featured speaker of the event, was promoted to First Assistant Prosecutor for Mercer County on Dec. 10, 2007. Marbrey told the audience that as a young college student, she didn't fully understand the sacrifices made by previous generations of black Americans. She said her parents' strong work ethic and her opportunity to obtain an education made her realize what others had to sacrifice.
"I realized the feet of that ladder I'm climbing are grounded in the sacrifice and blood of black Americans before me," Marbrey said. "I knew I wasn't going to make their sacrifice in vain by not carrying on that torch."
Marbrey said her parents taught her to work hard, have self-respect, and to build and not tarnish her reputation. She said the most important message of her parents' generation was to love one another.
"That is the most important thing Dr. King left us," she said.
A native of Columbus, Ohio, Marbrey attended Rutgers University School of Law after completing her undergraduate work at Spelman College in Atlanta, Ga.
Marbrey was a teacher by day and law student by night while at Rutgers, and she began her career with the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office 25 years ago when she was hired as an assistant prosecutor in 1983.
Marbrey has been a fixture in the local legal community ever since, earning respect in both the public and private sectors. In her career with Mercer County, Marbrey has served as trial team attorney, head of the Rape Task Force Unit, and Deputy First Assistant Prosecutor before being named First Assistant Prosecutor. Marbrey also worked in the private sector for a period and has served as assistant municipal prosecutor for the City of Trenton.
As First Assistant Prosecutor, Marbrey now oversees the day-to-day operations of the Prosecutor's Office.
She ended her comments by asking individuals in the crowd whether they had done enough to carry on Dr. King's mission of non-violence and his vision of a better future for America.
"The legacy of Dr. King is hope, but hope without work is a daydream," she said.