NEW BRITAIN – Central Connecticut State University will honor eleven political leaders and human rights advocates next week at the 2017 Ebenezer D. Bassett Humanitarian Awards.
CCSU presents the awards bi-annually to highlight the legacy of Ebenezer Bassett who, in 1853, became the first African American to attend and graduate from CCSU which was called State Normal School at the time. Bassett went on to become a noted educator, a prominent leader in the abolitionist movement, and the nation’s first African American diplomat as the Minister Resident to Haiti.
This year’s Bassett Humanitarian Award winners are:
- June Archer, a motivational speaker, author, and founder, president and CEO of ELEVEN28 ENTERTAINMENT. Archer is a strong supporter of HIV/AIDS and breast cancer research, and every year he produces the annual event “June Archer’s Celebration of Life,” a fundraiser for charity that recognizes noteworthy individuals for service to their communities.
- John Brittain, a professor of law at the University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law. Brittain is best known as a school desegregation specialist who served as counsel in Sheff v. O’Neill, a landmark case in which the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that the state had an obligation to provide Connecticut’s school children with a substantially equal educational opportunity.
- U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who has been a senator representing Connecticut since 2010. Prior to becoming senator, Blumenthal served five terms as Connecticut’s Attorney General. Cynthia Blumenthal will also be honored for her service on several community boards and committees.
- U.S. Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty, who has served the Fifth Congressional District of Connecticut since 2012.
- Former U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Kennelly, who served Connecticut’s First Congressional District for 17 years. Kennelly was the first woman to serve as the Democratic Deputy Majority Whip of the House of Representatives.
- Peter Rosa, a senior program officer with the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. Rosa spent more than 30 years in higher education administration.
- Richard and Clara Ruffin, educators who founded the Ministry of the Open Door in Hartford in 1985.
- Christopher Teal, Consul General at the U.S. Consulate in Nogales, Mexico. Teal has been in the U.S. State Department since 1999.
- Roland Harris, Hartford’s first African American school administrator. The lifelong Hartford resident died at the age of 90 earlier this year.
The Bassett Humanitarian Awards will be from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 16 in Memorial Hall’s Constitution Room at CCSU.
- Skyler Frazer, staff writer