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Awards & Honors

UFT African Heritage Committee Dinner

Recognizing their peers
New York Teacher
A man standing at the podium is addressing the crowd after receiving an award.
Erica Berger

Former UFT Vice President Sterling Roberson addresses the group after receiving the Trailblazer Award. 

It was a night of food, festivity and recognition as members of the UFT African Heritage Committee gathered in Queens for the group’s 19th annual Awards Dinner Dance on Feb. 4. The event, where the theme was “Embracing Challenges to Build Our Future,” honored the UFT’s Sterling Roberson with the Trailblazer Award, Queens Assembly Member Alicia Hyndman with the Frederick Douglass Award for Civil and Human Rights, and special education teacher Diamond Skinner with the Mary McLeod Bethune Award for Teacher Excellence.

“The African Heritage Committee started this event to recognize our peers,” said Committee Chair Wendy Walker-Wilson. “It’s African American History Month, so it’s also a way for us to celebrate our culture.”

The dinner ordinarily features African drummers and dancers, but those elements were scrapped this year for COVID-19 safety, said Walker-Wilson. It also usually draws more than 300 guests but attendance was capped at 150 to allow for social distancing, and all attendees were masked when not eating.

Roberson, who retired in September after 12 years as UFT vice president for career and technical education high schools, received the prestigious Trailblazer Award “for all the work he did to put CTE in the forefront citywide, statewide and all over the United States,” Walker-Wilson said.

“This award is extra special because it’s coming from my colleagues,” said Roberson. “It feels great.”

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Three women pose for a photo while wearing masks

Welcoming guests at the door are (from left) administrative education officer Ardell J. Long Temple, African Heritage Committee Chair Wendy Walker-Wilson and P4Q Chapter Leader Paula Thomas.

Erica Berger
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Two woman are speaking at a podium

Teacher Ann-Marie Hurt (left) of Frederick Douglass Academy VIII in Queens and UFT District 28 Representative Angela Artis co-host the dinner dance.

Erica Berger
Image
A man is at the podium smiling and holding the microphone.
Sean Blanks, the coordinator of the UFT Dial-A-Teacher program, leads the singing of "Lift Every Voice and Sing," often referred to as the Black national anthem.
Erica Berger
Image
A woman is at the podium talking and moving her hands.

Diamond Skinner, a special education teacher at MS 245 in Manhattan, speaks from the podium after receiving the Mary McLeod Bethune Award.

Erica Berger
Image
A woman is at the podium accepting an award.

Queens Assembly member Alicia Hyndman accepts the Frederick Douglass Award.

Erica Berger
Image
A man standing at the podium is addressing the crowd and smiling.

UFT Staff Director Anthony Harmon gets ready to present the Trailblazer Award.

Erica Berger
Image
A man standing at the podium is addressing the crowd after receiving an award.

Sterling Roberson, the recently retired UFT vice president for career and technical education high schools, accepts the Trailblazer Award.

Erica Berger
Image
Two women work together to count raffle tickets.

Measuring raffle tickets are Mashantuck Bell (left), the chapter leader at IS 364 in Brooklyn, and retired paraprofessional Arlevia DeLoach.

Erica Berger
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A woman dances with her son.

Latoya Lebby, the chapter advocate for Districts 15, 20 and 21, dances with her son Aiden.

Erica Berger
Image
5 people all wearing masks pose for a group photo at a table.

Getting ready to enjoy the evening are (seated, from left) Nicole Smith, Cheryl Crooke and Christopher Townsend, and (standing, from left) UFT District 16 Representative Camille Eaddy and Elaine Haynesworth.

Erica Berger
Image
A group of 5 people standing together for a photo

Gathering to take a photo are (from left) Hector Ruiz, the second vice chair of the Paraprofessionals Chapter; Tanisha Franks, a UFT member representative for personnel, payroll and special projects; Janella Hinds, the UFT vice president for academic high schools; David Kazansky, a Teachers' Retirement System teacher trustee; and Amy Arundell, the UFT Queens borough representative.

Erica Berger
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Image
Three women pose for a photo while wearing masks

Welcoming guests at the door are (from left) administrative education officer Ardell J. Long Temple, African Heritage Committee Chair Wendy Walker-Wilson and P4Q Chapter Leader Paula Thomas.

Erica Berger
Image
Two woman are speaking at a podium

Teacher Ann-Marie Hurt (left) of Frederick Douglass Academy VIII in Queens and UFT District 28 Representative Angela Artis co-host the dinner dance.

Erica Berger
Image
A man is at the podium smiling and holding the microphone.
Sean Blanks, the coordinator of the UFT Dial-A-Teacher program, leads the singing of "Lift Every Voice and Sing," often referred to as the Black national anthem.
Erica Berger
Image
A woman is at the podium talking and moving her hands.

Diamond Skinner, a special education teacher at MS 245 in Manhattan, speaks from the podium after receiving the Mary McLeod Bethune Award.

Erica Berger
Image
A woman is at the podium accepting an award.

Queens Assembly member Alicia Hyndman accepts the Frederick Douglass Award.

Erica Berger
Image
A man standing at the podium is addressing the crowd and smiling.

UFT Staff Director Anthony Harmon gets ready to present the Trailblazer Award.

Erica Berger
Image
A man standing at the podium is addressing the crowd after receiving an award.

Sterling Roberson, the recently retired UFT vice president for career and technical education high schools, accepts the Trailblazer Award.

Erica Berger
Image
Two women work together to count raffle tickets.

Measuring raffle tickets are Mashantuck Bell (left), the chapter leader at IS 364 in Brooklyn, and retired paraprofessional Arlevia DeLoach.

Erica Berger
Image
A woman dances with her son.

Latoya Lebby, the chapter advocate for Districts 15, 20 and 21, dances with her son Aiden.

Erica Berger
Image
5 people all wearing masks pose for a group photo at a table.

Getting ready to enjoy the evening are (seated, from left) Nicole Smith, Cheryl Crooke and Christopher Townsend, and (standing, from left) UFT District 16 Representative Camille Eaddy and Elaine Haynesworth.

Erica Berger
Image
A group of 5 people standing together for a photo

Gathering to take a photo are (from left) Hector Ruiz, the second vice chair of the Paraprofessionals Chapter; Tanisha Franks, a UFT member representative for personnel, payroll and special projects; Janella Hinds, the UFT vice president for academic high schools; David Kazansky, a Teachers' Retirement System teacher trustee; and Amy Arundell, the UFT Queens borough representative.

Erica Berger