RCBC Student Earns Civility Award for Community Activism
Wednesday, May 03, 2023

New Jersey native and Rowan College at Burlington County student, Boaz Matlack, earned the Civility Award for his honorable work as an activist fighting for equal rights among all individuals. 

At the age of four, Boaz Matlack was adopted into an Irish Catholic family from Medford and was raised in a family that demonstrated liberal beliefs. Unfortunately, growing up in a neighborhood that lacked diversity made schooling difficult at times. It was in middle school where he first became aware of academic discrimination being taught in class. 

“At one point, one of my peers compared the Black Panther Movement to the KKK,” he said. “It was disappointing to see the teacher agree with their statement and from that moment I became vocal about social injustice.”

Because of the injustice occurring in the classroom, Matlack became distracted and less focused on academics. After graduating from another community college and completing his certificate in welding, he traveled to Florida and took on the dangerous role as a commercial diver. He felt commercial diving just wasn’t his calling and wanted to “think outside the box” and utilize his mind to solving larger issues.

In 2020, during the pandemic and after the world witnessed the murder of George Floyd, Boaz came back to New Jersey and held a rally on mainstreet in Medford. “My voice needed to be heard and I protested the inequality along with the acknowledgement of injustice.” He took a stand by walking up and down Route 70 median, carrying signs advocating for equal right and justice. Matlck stated, “With each supportive honk I heard, it only kept my fire going and I continued speaking out.”

The leader of the Main Street Moorestown Rallies caught word of Matlack’s actions from a Facebook post and reached out to ask him to lead the next march on Main street in Moorestown. Action was sparked to create a partnership between both the Moorestown Rally Leader and Matlack. Soon, Boaz was leading several movements located in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and from his activism work, he became a member of the Minority and Equality Rights Task Force and Chairman of Criminal Justice for Southern Burlington County’s NACCP. 

Reflecting on all the sacrifices he made, Matlack is glad he took a stand. “This proved that my work and time paid off and each day protesting and fighting was completely worth it,” he said.

He was motivated, from this experience, to go back to school in order to receive an education and assist other students. It was at RCBC where he found his second family, relating to other students who have experienced similar injustices and grown personally and professionally. 

At this time Boaz has taken a step back from the Minority and Equality Rights Task Force and community activism and stated, “I acknowledged that in order to help a larger group of people properly, I needed to get the education to help my family and myself first. I felt completely guilty, but this civility award proves that I am making a difference and the right choices.”