Services will begin this week to honor New Jersey’s late Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver.
The trailblazing lawmaker died last week after she was admitted to the hospital with an undisclosed medical issue.
On Thursday, her body will lie in state at the Statehouse Rotunda in Trenton.
Then on Friday, she will lie in state at the Essex County courthouse.
On Saturday, there will be a funeral at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark where Rev. Al Sharpton will deliver her eulogy.
“Lt. Governor Oliver was a living testament to the importance of having Black women in positions of power to represent the needs and values of our community,” Sharpton said. “Indeed, through her work with Emerge America, Lt. Governor Oliver fought to ensure more women – and more Black women in particular – have the opportunity to serve in elected office. Not satisfied with her own success, she paved the way for a new generation as well. Lt. Governor Oliver was a friend to me and, speaking on behalf of Pastor Steffie Bartley and NAN, someone whom we all considered to be a dependable and powerful partner in the fight for justice and equality.”
Gov. Phil Murphy also announced Monday that an official portrait of Oliver has been commissioned for display in the Statehouse.
“As we continue to remember the life and service of Lieutenant Governor Oliver, I am deeply moved to announce the commissioning of a portrait that will stand as a testament to her legacy,” said Governor Murphy. “Sheila’s unwavering dedication to the people of New Jersey has left an enduring mark on our state, one that will be immortalized in the halls of our State House forever.”
Oliver was the first Black woman to hold statewide elected office in New Jersey, winning the vote alongside Murphy in 2017 and again in 2021. She was a well-known figure in state government and made history in 2010 by becoming the first Black woman to lead the state Assembly.
She also signed several bills while deputizing for Murphy.
In 2021, she signed a bill that established a pilot program to overhaul the state’s juvenile justice system in four cities and that aimed to reintegrate young people into their communities. Another measure she signed in 2021 revived a defunct fund for “urban enterprise zones” aimed at driving economic development in cities through lower sales tax rates.