The White Plains Examiner

African American Trailblazers Honored During Black History Month

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imgresWestchester County will honor five African Americans, including one posthumously, for their professional and civic accomplishments, at the annual Black History Month and Trailblazers Award ceremony on February 28.

“It is a pleasure once again to sponsor Trailblazers and to pay tribute to five extraordinary African Americans from Westchester who have accomplished so much,” said County Executive Robert Astorino in a media statement announcing the awards. “I thank the county’s African American Advisory Board for putting this event together as a way to remind all of us of the significant contributions in our own county of African Americans. This is a fitting way to observe Black History Month.”

Barbara L. Edwards, chair of the advisory board, said: “ This year’s recognition of Black History Month has a special significance because we are also celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, both monumental events fostering equality and freedom. These historical milestones were made possible by President Abraham Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., two men of courage. The 2013 Trailblazers embody the same kind of tenacity and commitment to continuing the legacy of our ancestors, while making an indelible impact for future generations.”

Harry O. Bright Jr., White Plains, will receive the Whitney M. Young Jr. Award, for Civil Rights and Civic Engagement. Bright has been a constant champion of civil rights and social justice for all Westchester residents. He served as executive director of the White Plains Commission on Human Rights from 1985-2003. He was also chair of the board of the United Way of Westchester and Putnam,  past president of the New York State Association of Human Rights Commissions, co-founder of the White Plains Coalition for Cultural and Racial Harmony and co-founder of Embracing Diversity and Ending Racism.

Dawna M. Fields, of Munt Vernon, will receive the Dr. Valiere Alcena Award, for Health and Human Services. Michael D. Armstrong, of New Rochelle, will receive the Cab Calloway Award, for Arts and Culture. Sharon Epperson, of New Rochelle, will receive the Madame C. J. Walker Award, for Business and Economic Development. Dillard Boone will receive the Life Time Achievement Award (posthumously). Boone was a resident of Mount Vernon at the time of his death on Jan. 10, 2013. A former member of the African American Advisory Board, he served as Master of Ceremonies of the Trailblazers events in 2011 and 2012.

The Trailblazers Awards ceremony will be held at 800 Westchester Ave., Rye Brook. The event will run from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. It is sponsored by the office of County Executive Robert P. Astorino, the county Board of Legislators and the county’s African American Advisory Board. The event is free and open to the public. Please R.S.V.P. to

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