Champions for Children

Our Namesake (Senator Wynona M. Lipman – The Steel Magnolia)

Wynona's House is named after its founder and legislative champion, the late Senator Wynona M. Lipman. Senator Lipman was the first African American woman in the New Jersey legislature and the longest serving member at the time of her death in 1999, with 28 years of service advocating for women and children.

Throughout her career, she was known as the ‘Steel Magnolia’ for her persistence in adhering to her principles and priorities while always maintaining grace, elegance, and style – an iron hand in a velvet glove!

Senator Lipman was born in LaGrange, Georgia. She earned a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Columbia University and won a Fulbright Scholarship to the Sorbonne, in Paris. She represented Newark’s 29th District and sponsored many ground breaking legislative initiatives. Notable among them were the Prevention of Domestic Violence Acts of 1981 and 1991-- at the time, the toughest domestic violence legislation in the United States. She also pioneered legislative action on behalf of minority women and women-owned businesses, affirmative action, family leave, pay equity, and enforcement of child support.

Wynona M. Lipman was a trailblazer. She was unwavering in her commitment to protecting the rights of children, women, and families. It is especially fitting that Wynona’s House, dedicated to protecting children and families, bears her name.