The Red Bandana Fund is proud to announce that the winners of the Red Bandana Award are community activist Camilo Viveiros, journalist Steve Ahlquist, and community activist and director of Coyote RI, Bella Robinson. The Award 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 9th at a celebration at the Providence Firefighters Memorial Hall, 92 Printery St., Providence, from 3 to 6 pm. The event is open to the public and is family-friendly. The award includes performances by Joanne Lurgio and the Extraordinary Rendition Band.
“We’re very happy about this year’s awards recipients,” said Steve Graham, spokesperson for the Red Bandana Fund. “Camilo, Steve and Bella have spent countless hours speaking truth to power and advocating for the rights of the vulnerable. If someone’s life is measured by how they care for the least, our recipients are true local heroes.”
Camilo Viveiros is currently the Director of the George Wiley Center, a Rhode Island non-profit organization founded by past Red Bandana Award recipient Henry Shelton, advocating for the rights and needs of the poor. When notified of the award, he noted the honor he felt following in Shelton’s footsteps and said, “the work can get tough, but something like this really helps keep you going.”
Bella Robinson is the director of Coyote RI, which advocates for policies to promote the health and safety of people involved in the sex industry. In spite of the stigma often attached to her constituents, Bella has fearlessly spoken out for people many would like to ignore, finding a safe harbor for them and addressing their needs.
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Steve Ahlquist is an independent journalist, currently the editor-in-chief of Uprise RI, who has dedicated his life to reporting on issues of peace, the environment, and social and economic justice in the Rhode Island area, writing about news and events that other mainstream outlets often do not cover. “This is an amazing honor,” Ahlquist said when informed of the award. “I’m just knocked out.”
“Every year we sort through a number of deserving nominees,” Graham noted. “From the number of nominees, and the response of the awardees and community members, we know that our mission to recognize people in the trenches working to make Rhode Island a safer, kinder and more just place to live is as important as ever.”