His sudden death was as
surprising as his election as Mayor of Jersey City. When Cunningham
became the first black mayor of the second largest city in
Excerpt from Anthony D Advincula reporting for the JERSEY CITY JOURNAL on May 28, 2004 the Mayors relationship with the Fil-am community:
him in vibrant mood, and before my bedtime, he's dead," said Lito Gajilan,
63, who was with Cunningham at the Department of Cultural Affairs-sponsored
block party at Five Corners on
Gajilan, a founding member of the Philippine American Friendship Committee, said that when the block party ended around 8:45 p.m., the mayor put one arm around him and said, "Lito, thank you for coming. Can you give me a ride?"
But before he could say yes, Gajilan said, a woman he couldn't identify suddenly came up to them and told the mayor about an "emergency." Then Cunningham tried to use his cell phone, but to no avail, as its battery ran out.
"The mayor asked me if he could use my phone, but I left it in my car. So he excused himself and looked for a cell phone that he could use from the crowd. By the time I saw him talking on the phone, I decided to leave the party," Gajilan said.
While he was driving home alone, Gajilan described how uneasy he was in the car.
"I felt like I wanted to come back and give the mayor a ride," he said. "I'm not sure if it was my guilt that I didn't respond to him immediately, or that I saw something different on his face when I looked at him, which is a picture that has been vivid on my mind until this time."
Gajilan said that his heart sank when he learned around 3 a.m. Wednesday that the mayor had died.
Cunningham recently helped
secure $170,000 for a renovation of
of the ongoing
Ludy Corrales, chairwoman of PAFCOM, circulated an e-mail tribute to the Cunningham.
"Our mayor loved and believed in Filipino-Americans. He always gave us the opportunity to progress," she said.
Over the last three years, Cunningham appointed three Filipino-Americans in his administration: Serafina Sengco, director of finance; Ed Toloza, city tax assessor; and Victor Sison, a municipal court judge.
"Mayor Cunningham has been a friend and an adviser to the Filipino community," Corrales said. "We shared the same vision, the same goals for our community."
I would add that we (Mayor and I) have something in common
in more ways. Glen Cunningham spent sometimes prior to becoming mayor research
black history of
I served the US Armed forces probably earlier and
longer than he did but equally proud on this Memorial Day weekend.
Memorial weekend in
Ex Mayor Rivas in front of the
Nestor Palugod Enriquez