(Article originally published in India New England on October 8, 2015)
BOSTON – On Thursday, Oct. 15, the Asian American Commission of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will honor Saheli with Lifetime Achievement Award. The Commission, known as AAC, will also highlight the extraordinary work of individuals and organizations within the Asian American community of the state at it Ninth Annual Unity Dinner: Honoring Our Heritage, Celebrating Our Diversity.
AAC’s Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to an individual or organization who/which has displayed longstanding and exemplary dedication to supporting the Asian community. This year, the honor goes to Saheli, a community-based women’s organization in New England.
Founded in 1996, Saheli empower South Asian women and their families to live safe and healthy lives. Led by a small staff and a cadre of dedicated volunteers headquartered in Burlington, MA, Saheli is uniquely focused on the needs of South Asians: from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Saheli has 19 years of experiencing providing direct services to survivors of domestic violence, physical and mental health and safety needs of women, legal and immigration referrals, career and economic empowerment resources, and social and cultural volunteer opportunities.
The Oct. 15 evening will feature two keynote speakers: Dr. Howard Kyongju Koh, Harvey V. Fineberg Professor of the Practice of Public Health Leadership at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and The Harvard Kennedy School, and former United States Assistant Secretary for Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Mr. Daniel Arrigg Koh, Chief of Staff to the City of Boston, advising Mayor Martin J. Walsh on key issues and helping Mayor Walsh execute his vision for the city and its 18,000 employees.
“The Unity Dinner represents a wonderful tradition of commitment and community. I look forward to honoring so many who care passionately about the future of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in our Commonwealth,” said Dr. Howard Koh .
Added Daniel Koh: “I am honored to be selected as the keynote for the Asian-American Commission’s Unity Dinner. The Asian-American community is integral to the incredible progress we’ve made as a society and I feel so fortunate to be a part of such a special group.”
In addition to the keynotes, the Unity Dinner will feature local performing artists, The Genki Spark, Flying Orb, and the Nam Pai Academy.
In addition to Lifetime Achievement Award to Saheli, AAC will also honor and recognize the award recipients in the following categories: Leadership for Inclusion & Diversity Award – An individual or organization who/which has displayed pioneering efforts in promoting and celebrating Asian American & Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) through workforce development, mentoring, and collaborations. This year, this award goes to MassMutual Financial Group.
Community Hero Award – An individual or organization who/which has displayed selfless commitment to the issues and events affecting AAPIs, and who/which has contributed efforts towards the betterment of AAPIs without self-promotion or fanfare. This year, this award goes to Dr. Ed Wang, Director of Policy and Planning, Division of Global Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital and Assistant Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School.
The event will be held on Oct. 15 at the University of Massachusetts Boston, Campus Ballroom, at 5:00 pm.
The Asian American Commission of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts was created by legislation on October 29, 2006. This Commission recognizes that the Asian American community is the fastest growing minority group in Massachusetts. The goal of the AAC is to recognize, as well as highlight, the vital contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to the social, cultural, economic, and political life of the Commonwealth. Additionally, the AAC is involved in identifying and addressing the various needs and challenges that currently face the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. The Commission provides a permanent, effective voice for Asian Americans, and is comprised of 21 diverse members who are appointed by the Governor, Attorney General, Auditor, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Secretary of State, and the Treasurer.