Friendship Dinner to honor 6 local humanitarians


Friendship Dinner to honor 6 local humanitarians

How to Go

WHAT: 38th annual Friendship Dinner sponsored by The National Conference for Community and Justice of Greater Dayton

WHEN: Monday, Oct. 26. Honoree reception at 5:30 p.m.; dinner at 6:30 p.m.

WHERE: Ponitz Center, Building 12, Sinclair Community College, Dayton

DRESS: Business attire

Tickets: Tickets are $100 per person and available by calling NCCJ at (937) 222-6225 or online at Reservation deadline is 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23.

In addition to a variety of educational projects, The NCCJ — The National Conference for Community and Justice of Greater Dayton — gathers annually to honor local individuals and businesses working to eliminate discrimination and embrace differences. This year’s Friendship Dinner will take place on Monday, Oct. 26, at the Ponitz Center at Sinclair Community College. Former Dayton news anchor Marsha Bonhart and the Dayton Daily News’ Ron Rollins will emcee.

“The individuals who attend the dinner represent the variety of rich cultures in our community,” said NCCJ executive director Mary Tyler, who always welcomes the crowd in a number of languages.

Montgomery County Commissioner Judy Dodge said the NCCJ dinner is one of her favorite events. “It’s such a positive, upbeat evening with one of Dayton’s most diverse and lively audiences,” she said. “It’s good to be reminded of the life-changing work that is quietly being done in our community every day.”

Individual honorees include:

  • Darsheel Kaur will receive this year’s Youth Humanitarian award. Born in England with family roots in India, Kaur is a Wright State University graduate who was involved with “Occupy OSU” and “OSU Stand Your Ground,”created in response to the murder of Trayvon Martin. After John Crawford III’s was fatally shot by police inside the Beavercreek Walmart, she joined the Ohio Student Association in a year of community organizing. She’s now studying Conflict Transformation at Eastern Mennonite University.
  • Dennis Lieberman, best known as the chairman of the Montgomery County Democratic Party, was a co-founder of the University of Dayton’s Legal Aid to the Elderly Program and chief justice of the mock trial and moot court programs. While chairman of the party, he opened the Democratic Headquarters to house overflow homeless people from St. Vincent DePaul, started a food bank and appointed the first African-American female as a member of the Board of Elections.
  • Jamaica Siroky, an educator at Thurgood Marshall STEM High School, is a past delegate at NCCJ’s Anytown Youth Leadership Institute and has volunteered as a counselor for three years. He is responsible for updating Anytown’s racism module.
  • After retiring from private practice as a physician, Martha Moody Jacobs — a published novelist — volunteered for 11 years as a doctor at the Good Neighbor House clinic. For seven summers, she has organized an enrichment camp for youngsters in the Arab-Israeli town of Deir al Assad. In addition to recruiting volunteers to join her in Israel, she brings middle-school Arab children for a two-week enrichment experience in the Miami Valley.
  • For many years Mary L. Jones Walker taught special education and served as principal at the former Radcliff Middle School. She is an intervention specialist who works with special needs students.
  • Robert C. Walker Sr. served as executive director at Wesley Community Center from 1973 until his retirement in 2011 and is now president of the Dayton Public School’s Board of Education. He has been chairperson of the City of Dayton’s Human Relations Council and has served on the Montgomery County Human Services Levy Council.


Workplace Diversity Award honorees:

  • A new cabinet-level position — vice president of Multicultural Affairs & Community Engagement — was created at Wright State University in 2012. The university’s Social Entrepreneurship (SEF) Fund emphasizes communities historically underserved by higher education. Wright State’s community collaborations include the new Neighborhood School Partnership with Westwood PreK-8 School and The Wesley Center, as well as the collaboration with El Puente and the Ahiska Turkish community centers.
  • PNC Financial Services Group’s Corporate Diversity Council advocates the integration of diversity and inclusion into all business practices. PNC’s $350 million, multi-year initiative helps prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life. PNC has also developed customer-focused marketing campaigns for the African-American, Hispanic, Polish, Chinese, Korean, Asian, Indian and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities.
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