The Red Bandana Fund is pleased to announce two local advocates, Henrietta White-Holder and Linda Finn, as the 2018 recipients of the Red Bandana Award!
The Award, the sixth annual, honors individuals and groups whose work embodies the spirit and work of Richard Walton, a longtime Rhode Island activist who died in 2012. The awards will be presented on Sunday, June 3rd at a celebration at the Providence Firefighters Memorial Hall, 92 Printery St., Providence, from 3 to 6pm. The event is open to the public and is family-friendly.
“These two individuals do so much for the community. They care passionately for people and “walk the walk” every day to prove it, just like Richard Walton did. We are proud to recognize their work and look forward to a great event to honor them on June 3rd,” Stephen Graham, chair of the awards committee noted.
Henrietta White-Holder is the founder & CEO of Higher Ground International, a culturally grounded inter-generational social service NGO that advocates and provides programs for West African immigrants, refugees and marginalized communities in Rhode Island and rural villages in Liberia, West Africa.
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Henrietta, started the organization in 2008, with only $1,000. “I remember her telling me that she felt like she had no choice, that she was born to do this and she would keep going despite any obstacle that got in her way,” recalled Stephen Graham. “And she has done exactly that. She’s an inspiration. I’m so honored to know her.”
In addition to lobbying to end the 14-year civil war in Liberia and helping to integrate and empower young refugees in Rhode Island, Higher Ground has brought clean water and sanitation to Liberia, with the installation of latrines and hand-pumps in rural villages in Arthington, Liberia. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 11,900 people die every year due to poor water and sanitation in Liberia. Another study conducted along with UNICEF, estimated that 2,600 children under the age of five die every year from diarrhea in the country due to this problem.
Linda Finn is the Board President of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence. She has bravely and tirelessly advocated for sensible gun laws in Rhode Island, and fashioned a coalition of people and groups that touches every part of Rhode Island. Her work has made Rhode Island safer for all of us.
“I am overwhelmed at being chosen for this award, I am just one of a growing group of activists who acknowledge that gun violence is increasingly becoming an issue that faces more and more of us each day,” said Finn. “It has been heartening to me to see the group of committed activists grow to include young and old, urban and suburban. We can prevent gun violence and I know that Rhode Island can become a leader in addressing the causes and more importantly solutions.”
“The selection process was challenging for us”, stated Bill Harley. There is so much happening in the Rhode Island area, and every person nominated for the Red Bandana Award was deserving. Over the long discussions, Linda and Henrietta’s names kept resurfacing, and it became clear, because of their talents and the issues facing us today, they should be our awardees.”
The celebration on June 3 is open to all, with donations to the Fund accepted. In addition to the awards ceremony, there will be performances by the Horse-Eyed Men (Dylan and Noah Block-Harley) and the Extraordinary Rendition Band.
“Our party at Fireman’s Hall last year was so incredibly joyous and fun. We’re looking forward to having another grand time. Richard Walton always had a wonderful community birthday party at his house near Pawtuxet Cove. We don’t want that tradition to go away. I’m sure Richard will approve too”, Graham chuckled.