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Federation will honor community leaders

The National Federation for Just Communities of Western New York will present its Community Leader Awards at a luncheon at noon Wednesday in the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.

Awards in the following categories will go to:

Agency: The Evergreen Association of Western New York, founded as AIDS Community Services in 1983 and now providing medical, supportive and behavioral services at five locations, especially for those who are marginalized or have chronic or life-threatening conditions.

Arts/Culture: Donna M. Fernandes, president and chief executive officer of the Zoological Society of Buffalo; and Allan Jamieson, an artist and elder in the Cayuga Nation’s Wolf Clan who promotes native culture in many ways.

Business: Zaw Win, a Burma native who opened a coin laundry on Buffalo’s West Side and works to improve conditions for immigrants and refugees.

Community Service: Joseph S. Brown, a partner in the law firm Hodgson Russ and a former president of the Minority Bar Association of Western New York; Catherine Cook-Cotton, a psychologist who helped found Yogis in Service, which helps people improve their lives through yoga; Juanita K. Hunter, a nurse, educator and author who was the first person of color to serve as president of the New York State Nurses Association; and Carol Speser, a pioneer in Buffalo’s Pride movement who performed the first same-sex marriage in New York State.

Corporate: BAK USA, a maker of tablet computers that has provided 500 tablets at discount to Say Yes students in Buffalo.

Education: Bonita R. Durand, chief of staff to three SUNY Buffalo State presidents; Michael J. Vallely, superintendent of the Lancaster Central School District, who led the way to adopt a new school mascot; and Lillie V. Wiley-Upshaw, vice dean for admissions and student life at the UB Law School, who works to improve diversity in the legal community.

Family: Lucy Candelario, executive director of the Belle Center and former director of the West Side Community Center, and her husband, Modesto Candelario, a former director of the Belle Center and now assistant executive director of the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority.

Government: Niagara District Council Member David A. Rivera.

Healthcare: Dr. Marshall D. Fagin, a prosthodontist who provides dental services to the needy and raises funds for charity; and Joseph A. Ruffalo, president and chief executive officer of Niagara Falls Medical Center.

Interfaith: Rabbi Alex Lazarus-Klein, leader of Congregation Shir Shalom in Williamsville, a first-of-its-kind dual-affiliated Reform and Reconstructionist temple.

Law Enforcement: Cheektowaga Police Chief David Zack, who has promoted fair and impartial police training.

Legal: State Supreme Court Justice Rose H. Sconiers.

Media: Brittni Smallwood, reporter and anchor with WIVB-TV and host of the Wake-Up show on sister station WNLO.

Organization: Just Buffalo Literary Center, nationally recognized for promoting the literary arts for more than 40 years and host of the Babel lecture series.

Social Service: Kids Escaping Drugs, which has helped thousands of teenagers suffering from chemical dependency.

Sports: Tovie Asarese, youth sports leader in Buffalo for more than 50 years who has organized leagues in baseball, softball, football, basketball and street hockey.

Youth: Mitchell Beiter of Hamburg High School, Raquel Feliz of Sacred Heart Academy, Ting Gao of Mount St. Mary’s Academy, Nigel Jacobs of Park School of Buffalo, Danielle Little of Buffalo Seminary, Maia Manney of Nichols School, Umaya Mehbub of International Preparatory School at Grover Cleveland, Dana Porzio of Lancaster High School and Allison Walker of Williamsville East High School.

The Elizabeth A. Hickey Award will be presented to Sanjida Rupa of the International Preparatory School at Grover Cleveland.

The Dr. Manch Scholarship Award will be presented to Nsimire Isabelle Bagalwa of the International Preparatory School at Grover Cleveland.

Tickets for the luncheon are available by calling 853-9596.