INVOCATION—Rev. Earlene Coleman, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church.
Despite the seriousness of the YWCA’s message on pay disparities, the afternoon was filled with reasons to celebrate. At this year’s luncheon, the YWCA honored Three Rivers Youth President and CEO Peggy Harris with the Allerton Lifetime Achievement award.
Harris has more than 25 years of experience in the nonprofit sector and has spent her time at Three Rivers Youth responding to the needs of at risk youth and their families. Her commitment to child welfare, youth development, racial and social justice, empowerment of women and girls, and educational achievement is also manifested through her service on the boards of a variety of organizations throughout the region.
“This award is less about the arc of the circle complete, but more about the space I have to come full circle,” Harris said. “While I do pause today in humble gratitude, I do so with a skip in my step.”
The Allerton Lifetime Achievement award has only been presented to 11 individuals since its inception in 1989. The special award recognizes women who epitomize the philosophies and concepts of the YWCA.
“To the YWCA, I thank you for your steadfast mission of eliminating racism and empowering women,” Harris said after thanking a long list of family, friends and colleagues who have supported her over the years.
The other honorees were Cathy Raphael, board chair of the Ms. Foundation for Women, in the civic and community service category; Pittsburgh Magazine Publisher and Vice President Betsy Benson in communication; Pittsburgh Public School District Superintendent Linda Lane in education; Candi Castleberry-Singleton, chief diversity and inclusion officer of the UPMC Center for Inclusion, in the health and human services category; Alka Patel, managing director and senior counsel at BNY Mellon, in the young leader category; and Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Debra Todd in the business and professional services category.
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