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White Plains Juneteenth Heritage Committee Holds Awards Gala In Tarrytown

Members of the Lee family of White Plains, who will receive a "Legacy Award" during Thursday night's Juneteenth Gala in Tarrytown.
Members of the Lee family of White Plains, who will receive a "Legacy Award" during Thursday night's Juneteenth Gala in Tarrytown. Photo Credit: Provided

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- The White Plains Juneteenth Heritage Committee holds its Third Annual Awards Gala Thursday night, honoring outstanding individuals and a prominent business in the African-American community.

The Juneteenth Awards Gala will begin at 6 p.m at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel in Tarrytown, and tickets are still available, organizers said on Wednesday.

Distinguished honorees include Eon S. Nichols, Rosa Boone-Morgan, the Rev. Earlene Davis, William Brown, Jr., James Bason, Jr., Bishop Wilbur Preston, Abdul Tubman, and Lee’s Funeral Home, which will receive a "Legacy Award" for its 100 years of service to the White Plains community.

"Juneteenth, 150 Years Later” is the Heritage Committee's 2015 theme. Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States on June 19, 1865.

"This year’s theme illustrates the historical commitment of those who came before us and our determination to continue to fulfill their legacy,'' the Heritage Committee said in a news release. "With that imparted, it is of great importance that we achieve our desired objectives which are to better communicate the history and celebration of Juneteenth, gain greater participation from the overall community, educate our youth in the importance of this historical holiday and strengthen funding so that this celebration will continue to thrive."

Gail Wright Sirmans is guest speaker. Upon graduating from Harvard Law School, Wright Sirmans began her career with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Subsequently, as an associate counsel with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, she litigated employment discrimination, health care and voting rights cases at the trial and appellate level in federal courts across the country.

Wright Sirmans was lead counsel in a voting rights case against the state of Georgia, challenging the failure of that state to provide voting registration sites in locations that were accessible to the African-American community, and for failing to appoint black registrars across the 159 counties within the state.

In addition to practicing law, Wright Sirmans has held professorships at Cornell’s ILR College, St. John’s Law School, and Pace Law School where she taught constitutional law, employment and labor law, and trial practice.

During the 2012 presidential election, she was a member of the Voter Protection project in Pennsylvania where she worked to ensure that polling sites were fairly and honestly operated. Currently, she is an employment law consultant and certified mediator to federal agencies, academic institutions, and private and public employers and employees.

Tickets are $125. For details or to RSVP, go to: www.wpjuneteenth.com or call Frank Williams at (914) 715-2762 or email gala@wpjuneteenth.com.

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