Hundreds of locals came out in support of the YWCA Greater Pittsburgh for their 25th Annual Racial Justice Awards, a signature event of the YWCA Center for Race and Gender Equity (CRGE).  The silver celebration awards dinner honored individuals, companies and organizations that have demonstrated a commitment to eliminating racism.  Through its Racial Justice Awards, the Center seeks to promote a society in which all people receive equal treatment and have equal access in the workplace, public services, justice system, classroom, and throughout the Greater Pittsburgh community.

Over the past two decades, the YWCA has recognized more than 100 community leaders that have made a substantial commitment to racial equity.  This year’s 25th anniversary celebration, presented by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, honored the work of both past and present Racial Justice Awards recipients.  Awards were presented by Mistress of Ceremonies, KDKA’s Lynne Hayes-Freeland.

“Our city has a rich history and culture in which diverse groups and individuals have played a major role in our national and international success and innovation,” said Mayor Peduto.  “Pittsburghers look with pride, gratitude and deep affection to the racial and social leaders who forge a path towards the elimination of racism and justice.”

“On behalf of the YW’s Board of Directors, we are honored to recognize seven remarkable change agents and 25 years of Racial Justice Trailblazers – women, men, and organizations that have made lasting contributions to our region by helping eliminate racial inequity in everyday life,” said Marsha Jones, President of the Board of Directors, YWCA.  “Their work, continued support, and legacy have paved the path towards equity.”

“The honorees were selected from an impressive list of nominees,” said Magdeline E. Jensen, YWCA Chief Executive Officer.  “We applaud their dedication, objectivity, and collegiality.”

 Congratulations to the following honorees that were honored in the following categories:

ARTS: vanessa l. german, Citizen Artist, Humanity

BUSINESS & PROFESSIONAL SERVICES: Arletta Scott Williams, Executive Director, Allegheny County Sanitary Authority

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: Jesabel I. Rivera-Guerra, President, The Pittsburgh Latin American Cultural Union

EDUCATION: Sean Cameron Means, Educator, Pittsburgh Westinghouse Academy 6-12

FAITH: John M. Wallace, Jr., Professor, University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work, Senior Pastor, Bible Center Church

HEALTH: Rhonda Moore Johnson, MD, MPH, Senior Medical Director, Health Equity & Quality Services, Highmark Inc.

PUBLIC SERVICE & SAFETY: Valerie McDonald Roberts, Chief Urban Affairs Officer, Office of Mayor William Peduto