About the Awardees
Paul Robeson Lifetime Achievement Award
Carmen Febo San Miguel, M.D, was born in Ciales, Puerto Rico. She graduated magna cum laude and then attended medical school at the University of Puerto Rico. Dr. Febo moved to Philadelphia for her residency in Family Practice at Hahnemann Hospital and Medical Center. She was then hired as Medical Director of the Spring Garden Family Health Services Center in Philadelphia, serving a primarily poor Puerto Rican and African American population. After moving back to Puerto Rico and working at the Naranjito Health Center serving a rural population, Dr. Febo returned to Philadelphia in 1984 were she assumed the position of Medical Director of Germantown Family Medicine Associates, managing all the aspects of a private medical practice.
Carmen Febo assumed the position of executive director of Taller Puertoriqueño in May 1999 after serving for over 15 years as Taller’s board chair. Since 1985, the organization has grown from having very little staff and a small budget to a permanent staff of 17 and a budget of over $1 million. She brings many years of professional experience to the position, including her work as a member of the Board of Managers of The Philadelphia Foundation, one of the largest philanthropic foundations in the city.
Dr. Febo is deeply committed to Taller’s goals and its mission of education and dissemination about the rich cultural heritage of Puerto Rico, Latino and related cultural groups including African Americans. Dr. Febo works on an 80% basis at Taller, still maintaining a medical practice 20% of the time.
In addition to her work with Taller, the Philadelphia Foundation, and the Latino Advisory Board, Dr. Febo has served as a board member of Congreso de Latinos Unidos, the Philadelphia Aids Consortium and Centro Guayacán among others. She also was appointed to the Commission of Puerto Rican/Latino Affairs for the City of Philadelphia and the Mayor’s Commission on Arts and Culture under Mayor Goode’s administration, as well as in Mayor Nutter’s Cultural Advisory Council. Dr. Febo served under Mayor Street, chairing the transition committee on Boards and Commissions. She chaired the American Street Community Trust Board of the Empowerment Zone from 2001 to 2005 and until 2008 served as a board member.
Robin Hood Was Right Award
Phil Straus’ parents taught him that those with extra resources owe the world some repayment, and his philanthropic efforts have been shaped by those early lessons. He has been a donor to the Bread & Roses Community Fund since the late Seventies — ” I love the local focus, the emphasis on small social-change groups, and the community of both grantee and donors.” He also serves on the board of the Center for Defense Information and chairs the board of Mother Jones Magazine.
Phil holds a Harvard University Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Social Relations, and two Masters degrees in Energy and Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. His occupations have included engineer, photographer (www.strausphoto.com), teacher, and entrepreneur. He’s also pursued a longtime interest in the game of go, studying, playing, and competing for 40 years, as well as authoring two books on the subject and serving as president of the American Go Association. He is now pursuing a Bachelor’s in math from the University of Pennsylvania. He lives in Center City, Philadelphia with his wife, Margaret Harris, and is a long-distance runner.
Dorothy Johnson-Speight, MHS, LPC , a highly-regarded leader, lauded conference workshop speaker, and guest television commentator is a clarion voice against the war to end senseless acts of violent crime. Her work, though rooted in Philadelphia, has led to national appearances and presentations across the United States and abroad.
A licensed family therapist, Dorothy has been a long-time supporter for the rights of children and families throughout her distinguished career in victim advocacy. Following the tragic 2001 murder of her 24 year old son Khaaliq Jabbar Johnson, Ms. Johnson-Speight, along with other grieving mothers, founded the non-profit, Mothers In Charge, Inc., (MIC). MIC is a grassroots organization whose mission focuses on violence prevention through the education and intervention for children, young adults, families and community organizations. The organization’s mission is realized through collaborative partnerships with school districts, youth and faith-based community organizations, and family centers.
Emerging Leader Award
Blanca Pacheco is a volunteer with New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia, facilitating Know Your Rights presentations in immigrant communities. She previously worked as the Coordinator of Instruction at Open Borders Project, teaching computer classes in Spanish to immigrant communities and coordinating their ESL program.
Blanca also organized the Philadelphia Story Telling Project in her community of Upper Darby, in which Ecuadorian immigrants learned to interview each other about their immigrant experience, edit their stories on a computer and mix them with music. Participants used the process of telling their stories to reflect on their experiences as immigrants, the risks they had taken, their grief at being separated from their families, and their hopes for the future. Through their stories, participants honored their own lives and built community. Blanca became a central founder of UCE (Unión de Capacitación Ecuatoriana) in Upper Darby.
Community Empowerment Award
Scribe Video Center was founded in 1982 by Louis Massiah as a place where emerging and experienced media artists could gain access to the tools and knowledge of video making and work together in a supportive environment. Scribe provides training in all aspects of film, video and audio production. They also offer classes in computer-based interactive media to individuals and community organizations as well. Scribe gives emerging and mid-level video makers the skills and opportunity to use video and film as tools for self-expression and for representing and supporting their communities.
Scribe Video Center seeks to explore, develop and advance the use of video as an artistic medium and as a tool for progressive social change. “Scribe” is a metaphor for the use of video as a modern medium to record significant contemporary concerns and events. Their films have covered diverse topics such as oral histories of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods and the healing power of African cultural arts.
Walter Lear was born in 1923 in New York City. He earned a B.S. from Harvard University, an M.D. from Long Island College of Medicine, and an M.A. in health administration from Columbia University.
Walter became Philadelphia’s deputy health commissioner in 1964 and was commissioner of health services throughout the 1970s. In 1975 Walter publicly announced that he was gay at a forum in commemoration of the life of LGBT activist Howard Brown.
As an activist, he helped found agencies like the Penguin Place and Lavender Health Project, Delaware Valley Legacy Fund, Philadelphia AIDS Task Force, Maternity Care Coalition, Physicians for Social Responsibility and a local chapter of the Radical Faeries. He fought for the City Council’s Gay Rights Bill, passed in 1982. He was a founding member of APHA’s Medical Care Section and the Caucus of Gay and Lesbian Health Workers.
Walter was a founding member and officer of the Medical Committee for Human Rights, and picketed a conference of the American Medical Association in 1963 for its segregationist policies. He also convened the first national conference on AIDS in the 1980’s, before AIDS was given much public attention and he founded the Institute for Community Health, a project to document the 100 year long history of the activist fight for national health care.
He was also a competitive swimmer and won the gold in 200-meter freestyle in the 75-80 age bracket at the 1998 Gay Olympics.
Larry Frankel, originally from California, received both his B.A. in comparative literature and his law degrees from the University of California at Berkeley. He was the Legislative Director for the Pennsylvania ACLU from 1992-2008 before becoming the State Legislative Counsel for the ACLU in its national office.
Larry lobbied and spoke out on critical issues such as the death penalty, reproductive freedom, LGBT rights, the First Amendment, criminal justice reform, voting rights and racial discrimination. He was a part of the successful effort to block the Marriage Amendment in the PA state legislature in 2006 and also worked on changing death penalty procedures for people with mental retardation.
Jonathan Schmidt was the founder of the First Suburbs Project, a regional coalition of churches, non-profits, and municipalities from the inner ring suburbs outside of Philadelphia. First Suburbs works to effect policies that will lead to the revitalization of towns such as Upper Darby, Norristown, Chester and Bristol, which face similar problems of diminishing economic investment, racial and economic segregation, declining infrastructure, concentrated levels of poverty, and struggling school districts.
Jonathan was valedictorian at Upper Darby High School, received his undergraduate and law degrees from Yale University as well as an M.A. in economics and public policy from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.
Jonathan went to Lima, Peru, on a Fulbright Fellowship from 1996 to 1997 studying microlending for small businesses and land title reform. He served as interim director of public education for the American Association for Cancer Research in 1997-98 and was a policy analyst for the Neighborhood Transformation Initiative in 2000-02. He was also an associate at Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, a law firm in Philadelphia.