In commemoration of National Professional Social Work Month during March, the School of Social Work in Falk College will present its annual Dan and Mary Lou Rubenstein Social Justice Award program 6:45 – 8 p.m. March 30, 2023 in Falk College room 200. This year, the program “Empowering Communities Through Advocacy: Leadership at the State and Local Level,” honors the Hon. Rachel May, New York State Senator for the 48th District, and the Hon. Sharon Owens, Deputy Mayor of Syracuse. The ceremony will be led by George Kilpatrick, host of Inspiration for the Nation radio program.
Presented for more than 30 years, the Rubenstein Social Justice Award is given in honor of the late professor Dan Rubenstein, a former faculty member in the School of Social Work and his late wife, Mary Lou, a former school social worker. Recipients of this award are role models whose courage and strength inspire others to stand up—and step up—to advocate and be a voice in the Syracuse community. The values of social justice are integral to their daily lives. The work of honorees each year, by their individual and collective examples, exemplify the true spirit of the Rubenstein Social Justice Award.
State Senator May is serving the City of Syracuse and areas of Onondaga and Cayuga County for her third straight term. Senator May ran for State Senate in 2018 after living in working in Syracuse as a professor. Senator May has been a strong advocate for bills that promote the healthy functioning of democracy. She uses her experience as an environmental professional to help draft climate change legislation. Senator May has advocated strongly for access to quality affordable home-based care for elders, and security and dignity for the people who care for them. Senator May has been a stalwart advocate for the city of Syracuse bringing legislators from around the state to Syracuse to support legislation that promotes economic opportunity in Syracuse and protect the rights and interests of vulnerable communities.
Deputy Mayor Owens has served the City of Syracuse through the Mayor’s office since 2017. Her portfolio of responsibilities includes emergency services, economic development, and neighborhoods. Deputy Mayor Owens has made social justice and racial justice one of the central pillars of her work as Deputy Mayor. She has spent her whole career serving families and communities in Syracuse. She worked for the Dunbar Association, Peace, Inc., and Early HeadStart promoting the wellbeing of children and families. She worked for Jubilee Homes and Home Headquarters seeking to ensure all residents have access to affordable homes in healthy communities. Deputy Mayor Owens also led the Southwest Community Center as a director. She has focused on a range of policies from promoting work opportunities for young people to expanding access to affordable housing.
The Social Justice Awards are free and open to the public. To register to attend, please visit the Syracuse University Community Calendar. For accommodations, please contact Kara Hughes at email@example.com or (315) 443-5562.