Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Haitian singer, songwriter and musician Gifrants performs in 2007. He is scheduled to perform Sunday at the 12th Cambridge Peace and Justice Awards. (Photo: Brian Del Vecchio)

The 12th Cambridge Peace and Justice Awards, honoring contributions to peacemaking in the city, is scheduled for Sunday, said Brian Corr, director of the Cambridge Peace Commission.

Awards this year are going to Rawhl Adams, of the Cambridge High School Extension Program; Sarav Chidambaram, the Cambridge GLBT Commission; Principal Tim Groves, of the King Open School; Leigh Hardy, of the Cambridge/El Salvador Sister City Project; Judy King, of the Nonviolent Peaceforce and Women’s Action for New Directions; and Arpi Kouzouian, of the Holy Trinity Armenian Church of Greater Boston. In the group awards category, Cambridge Cares About AIDS and Area IV for Peace will be honored.

There were more than 50 nominations this year, Corr said, “representing the breadth and depth of efforts for peace and justice in our city — from the local to the global — in families, schools, congregations and neighborhoods.”

In addition to the presentation of awards, the event includes an address by José Edgardo Alemán Molina, consul general of El Salvador in New England and live music performed by Haitian singer, songwriter and musician Gifrants, who has been called one of the most innovative and prolific Haitian musicians of our time and by the World Jazz Ensemble of the Cambridge Rindge & Latin School.

Corr provided these biographies of the recipients:

Rawhl Adams has been chosen for his work is the safety officer at the Cambridge High School Extension Program and in a range of activities in Cambridge. He has worked closely with the principal of the program to build the school since it was founded in 2004 and it is a safe, peaceful and respectful community largely due to his efforts. A tireless worker, a fine and decent person and a strong advocate for students, he is also a leader in the wider Cambridge community — working as a coach for the Cambridge Rindge & Latin School football team, working security at athletic events and working at city youth centers. He has mentored generations of young people in Cambridge and has been a supportive and caring colleague in all of his work.

Sarav Chidambaram has been chosen for his work as an advocate and activist within the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. He serves as co-chairman of the Cambridge GLBT Commission, where he works tirelessly to bring Cambridge together around issues of GLBT rights, racial equality, gender equality and immigration rights and builds bridges and connections among all of the communities in Cambridge.

Timothy Groves has been chosen for his work as principal of the Martin Luther King Open School. Principal Tim, as he is known, leads the school community in its mission of building rich, meaningful learning experiences using the expertise and potential of staff, students and families — always following King Open’s guiding principle of social justice. He constantly strives to go beyond rhetoric and ideas to help parents, teachers and staff create an open, thoughtful, challenging, supportive, engaging and caring school community that ensures that all of its children reach their potential and get the support and encouragement they need.

Leigh Hardy has been chosen for her work as a leader of the Cambridge/El Salvador Sister City Project and promoting peace in her North Cambridge neighborhood. A life-long resident of Cambridge, she began her work as an activist at Cambridge Rindge & Latin. After college, she continued her work in Cambridge with a focus on children and families at The Guidance Center. She works locally and globally, serving as a member of the U.S.-El Salvador Sister Cities national board of directors and, in 2009, worked in El Salvador as an international observer during national elections. She is a deeply committed young adult who has demonstrated the capacity to work with people from a variety of backgrounds and serve as a positive role model for the next generation of Cambridge youth.

Judy King has been the lead Boston contact for Women’s Action for New Directions for many years and, since her retirement, has done a great deal of volunteer fundraising for Fenway High. She is a leader in the Boston Nonviolent Peaceforce chapter, organizing nonviolent conflict intervention workshops, outreach to other peace groups, coordinating its annual national conference in Boston this year and serving on its national steering committee. Her quiet strength, convictions about diversity and nonviolence and ability to inspire others have made a difference in many organizations and in Cambridge.

Arpi Kouzouian has been chosen for her work with young people in the Armenian community of Cambridge and of the Armenian Church in America. For 15 years, she has given of herself to bring peace into the hearts of countless youth and young adults struggling with personal issues. Whether identification issues, Internet bullying or parental issues, youth have found her present to make a lasting difference in their lives and restore much-needed peace. From her time serving as the national youth director of the Armenian Church in America to her work today as youth director of Holy Trinity Armenian Church in Cambridge, she has been a powerful mentor, helping a new generation of young people learn about and take action on community issues such as the plight of the homeless, domestic violence and hunger.

Cambridge Cares About AIDS has been chosen for its 22 years of amazing work in the city. From direct service to those dying from and living with AIDS to its Youth On Fire program, the group works at the intersection of social and economic inequality with HIV/AIDS. It provides accessible prevention, education, advocacy, housing and support services in accordance with harm reduction principles to help people meet self-identified goals. Through all of its programs, Cambridge Cares About AIDS helps as many people as possible to have a healthy lifestyle, remain HIV-negative and seek greater stability through permanent housing, employment or school.

Area IV for Peace has been chosen for its work to increase peace and community and reduce tension and violence in Cambridge’s Area IV neighborhood. This group of residents, community groups and city agencies came together in 2008 to focus attention on creating a beloved community through the theme “Area 4 4 Peace.” This group concentrated its efforts on working with residents, agencies, organizations and business in and around the neighborhood throughout the spring and summer of 2009. It created leaders that helped the community become a place where kids and families could enjoy being outdoors together and safe — and where the community has a sense of ownership over its open space and streets. Through a range of events and activities, including movies in the parks, a “Welcome Summer” cookout, a peace walk and field day, it is creating a climate of peace and community.

The awards are sponsored in part by Andala Coffee HouseThe Middle East RestaurantS&S RestaurantCarberry’s BakeryHarvest Co-op MarketPicante Mexican Grill and the Craigie St. Bistrot.

The 2010 Cambridge Peace and Justice Awards, bearing the theme “Peacemaking in a Time of Hope and Change,” is scheduled for 4 to 7 p.m. at the West Cambridge Youth Center, 680 Huron Ave., Cambridge. There is a suggested donation of $10 for adults and $5 for children to help defray the cost of putting on the program. To RSVP, send e-mail to [email protected]. For information, click here.

This post was written from a press release.