For Immediate Release
December 03, 2008
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Celtics Legend Bill Russell Receives Leadership Award
Mayor Thomas M. Menino and the Mayor's Office of New Bostonians tonight held the third annual "We Are Boston" awards ceremony and dinner at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC). Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell was honored with the We Are Boston Leadership Award, while other outstanding individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to embracing Boston's diversity were also recognized.
"Boston has always been a gateway for immigrants and I am proud that Boston is a beacon of hope, tolerance and opportunity for so many people throughout the world," Mayor Menino said. "Today is a new day in Boston, and we will continue to work together for mutual respect and understanding and recognize all of the contributions that each culture makes to our great city."
Several hundred people representing the many different cultures of the City of Boston attended the third annual We Are Boston event to celebrate those who have embraced the city's rich diversity and helped new Bostonian communities to fully participate in the economic, civic, cultural, and social life of the City. The event showcased an evening of an evening of multicultural performances and cuisine.
Leadership Award winner Bill Russell's almost endless accomplishments on and off the basketball court embody the spirit of diversity and inclusion that We Are Boston promotes. In 1967, Mr. Russell broke the color barrier, becoming the first African-American Coach in American major league sports. He has been an aggressive advocate for civil rights and diversity and has served as a Global Ambassador of Basketball by partnering with the NBA and the U.S. State Department to bring the sport to over 50 countries including China and on the continent of Africa.
In addition to Bill Russell's We Are Boston Leadership Award, several other honors were awarded. DanThuy Chu, a senior at Boston Latin Academy and a member of the Mayor's Youth Council, received a We Are Boston Youth Leadership Award. DanThuy, who became a Dorchester representative on the Youth Council in the spring of 2007, has coordinated outreach to her community as the Girls' Coordinator. This role has allowed her to help plan events such as the Girls Summit, Boston Centers for Youth & Families Girls Nights, and workshops on issues specifically impacting girls. She has also coordinated with Police Commissioner Davis's staff to develop strategies to increase communication between youth and members of the Boston Police Department. Other Youth Leadership Award winners included Diego Medina and Berjeany Charles.
Mayor Menino also presented the We Are Boston Corporate Leadership Award, received by Verizon, and the Community Leadership Award, received by Rev. Gloria White Hammond.
We Are Boston is sponsored by the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA) who oversees the operations of the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center, the MassMutual Center in Springfield, MA and the Boston Common Parking Garage.
"We Are Boston is a joyous celebration of our city's diversity, immigrant heritage and contributions and provides a chance for Bostonians, both new and old, to connect with one another," said MCCA Executive Director, James E. Rooney. "The MCCA is proud to have the opportunity to support and celebrate Boston's diversity by hosting this event."
The Mayor's Office of New Bostonians was established in 1998 to meet the needs of the growing and changing immigrant and newcomer communities in Boston. Its mission and objectives were formed through a shared dialogue across immigrant groups in Boston. The Mayor's Office of New Bostonians strives to reach and serve diverse cultural and linguistic communities and create a model of a welcoming multicultural city, as well as to improve the ability of these diverse communities to access city services.