Final Day in March Brings NCCJ 2016 Annual Human Relations Awards
By Jason Papallo, NCCJ E-Communications & Marketing Specialist
(HARTFORD, CT) – NCCJ (The National Conference for Community and Justice), a non-profit working to promote inclusion and acceptance as it advances social justice efforts to build communities that are respectful and just for all, will present its 2016 Annual Human Relations Awards on Thursday, March 31.
Held at the Marriott Hotel, Hartford, Connecticut, the reception will begin at 6:00 p.m. with banquet co-chairs James C. Smith, Chairman and CEO of Webster Banks and Webster Financial Corporation, and Pia Rosenberg Toro, an area community leader. Awards will be presented at 7:00 p.m.
“We are extremely proud of the dedication and civic engagement shown by this year’s honorees in promoting understanding and respect among all people. Each award recipient has shown tremendous leadership in our community and has worked tirelessly to help promote an inclusive society for all,” said NCCJ president and CEO Dr. Andrea C. Kandel.
This year’s honorees include corporate honoree Aetna Inc., Bonnie J. Malley, executive vice president and CFO at The Phoenix Companies, Inc., who serves on the board of directors of various charitable organizations and committees in Connecticut, Curtis Robinson, president of C&R Development Company, who serves on the board of directors at several local hospitals, and the Lazowski family, whose philanthropic and interfaith efforts are tremendous.
The NCCJ presents the awards to those distinguished by conducting themselves with open-mindedness and respect, showing leadership by example, and diligence in their fight for human rights and equality. These individuals and companies have been active in humanitarian concerns such as combating prejudice, discrimination and bigotry in the community and workplace. They have demonstrated their commitment to fostering social justice and cooperation among all races, religions, cultures and abilities.
NCCJ Human Relations Youth Awards will also be given out to five high school students for their work in promoting a positive and inclusive environment in their schools and communities. The 2016 youth honorees include Lydia Henning of Hall High School, Shalaine McCall of Achievement First Hartford High School, Syeda Naqvi of Conrad High School, Nathan Nugent of Windsor High School and Matthew Wilson of Wethersfield High School.
“I totally didn’t expect it. I’m so happy to be getting the award…It’s a stepping stone, because I am a youth, and that means I have so much time, so much more potential, especially going to a new environment like college, to be able to share what I’ve learned,” said Nugent, one of the banquet’s youth honorees. “Whether that be starting a new program or even if it’s just running a little workshop here or there at my school, those little things can get the word out about the isms and all of the words that aren’t taught in schools, but exist systematically, legally and historically.”
Wilson, another one of the banquet’s youth honorees, says that he’s been striving to get this award since he entered the NCCJ ANYTOWN program during the summer of 2013, where he says he learned a great deal about others and himself during his time participating.
“The first time I went to a banquet was May of 2014, and all three of the [youth] that were honorees were staff members at my camp, and I really liked seeing them up there, because they were all really role models to me,” said Wilson. “To actually be to the point where I’ll have it is such a huge honor. I just can’t describe it in words, how much of an honor it is to get it.”
Wilson plans to work with NCCJ and participate in social justice workshops through college and beyond, saying that he’s deeply rooted in the organization that helps youth grasp and embrace equality while understanding the need for social justice.
“The banquet is probably the best representation of the NCCJ to the public, because it really shows that the organization really walks the walk and talks the talk. The youth honorees are prime examples of how much the NCCJ really helps people, and invests in youth in general to help them in achieving things, like finding a social awareness based on acceptance. Many people young and old have a hard time doing that by themselves,” said Wilson.
About the National Conference for Community and Justice
Formed 1927, NCCJ is a nonprofit human relations organization that promotes inclusion and acceptance by providing education and advocacy while building communities that are respectful and just for all. Celebrating the diversity of races, religions, cultures, genders, abilities, and sexual orientations.
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For more information on NCCJ’s variety of social justice educational programs, click here.