New York, NY (PRWEB) April 22, 2005
The NAACP New York City chapter of the Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (NYC ACT-SO) will pay tribute to New York City Deputy Mayor for Policy Dennis M. Walcott, Inner City Broadcasting Corporation Chairman Emeritus Percy E. Sutton, legendary actor and activist Ruby Dee, acclaimed author and poet Ntozake Shange, and National Cancer Institute Associate Director Dr. Harold P. Freeman, who also is Medical Director of the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care Â each as a Special Honoree Â at the 18th annual NYC ACT-SO VIP Reception & Awards Ceremony on Monday, April 25, 2005 at Con Edison, 4 Irving Place in Lower Manhattan. The VIP Reception (invitation only) will be from 5 p.m. to 6:45 p.m., and the Awards Ceremony (open to the public with ticket purchase) will be from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Jane Hanson and Otis Livingston of NBC NewsChannel 4 will host the ceremony. Former President William Jefferson Clinton, U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, and U.S. Senator Barack Obama are Honorary Co-chairs of the event, which is made possible through the generous support of Con Edison, edGenuiti Worldwide, Washington Mutual, and media partner WNBC-4/New York. Tickets are $50, $100, and, for VIP Reception access, $250.
ÂOur distinguished and highly-accomplished honorees are the kind of role models who can have a positive and lasting impact on the lives of New York CityÂs young scholars,Â said NYC ACT-SO Executive Director Anton Tomlinson.
The Awards Ceremony is the local culmination of NYC ACT-SO's annual signature event, the Olympics of the Mind competition, in which some 200 enthusiastic Black high school students, grades 9 to 12, from throughout New York City will converge under one roof to showcase their talents in the humanities, performing arts, visual arts, and sciences, two days prior on Saturday, April 23, 2005 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at ManhattanÂs Martin Luther King Jr. High School, 122 Amsterdam Avenue, between 65th and 66th streets.
Special Honoree in the Humanities, Deputy Mayor for Policy Dennis M. Walcott, is Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's point person on education. In that capacity, he coordinates the mayor's reform of New York City's public schools. He also serves as the liaison to the Department of Youth and Community Development, New York City Housing Authority, Health and Hospitals Corporation, City University of New York, and the Mayor's Office of Health Insurance Access. The former President and CEO of the New York Urban League is a product of the New York City public school system. He received a Masters of Social Work from Fordham University and a Masters of Education from the University of Bridgeport.
Special Honoree in Entrepreneurship Percy E. Sutton is a celebrated attorney, activist, former elected official, businessman, technology and communications expert, and World War II U.S. Air Force veteran. Mr. Sutton is the founder, controlling shareholder, and Chairman Emeritus of Inner City Broadcasting Corporation with its principal office in New York City and radio stations around the United States. He also is Chairman & CEO, and principal investor in Synematics, Inc., a high technology software/hardware company with offices in New York City and Upstate New York. Between 1954 and 1965, Mr. Sutton and his brother, Judge Oliver C. Sutton, a former Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, individually or together served as advisors to, and legal counsel for Malcolm X. Mr. Sutton, co-founder of the first Black political caucus, served in 1965 and 1966 as a member of the New York State Assembly, where he led in the development of early New York State legislation in housing, employment, civil right, human rights, access to higher education and other key issues. He also served for 11 years as the first elected President of the Borough of Manhattan, ran for Mayor of New York City, practiced law before various state and federal courts, and served as legal advisor in Reverend Jessie JacksonÂs presidential campaign.
Special Honoree in the Performing Arts Ruby Dee Â known for her legendary groundbreaking efforts to honestly and positively portray the lives of African Americans Â and her husband, the late Ossie Davis, have been featured in more than 50 films, beginning in 1950 with No Way Out featuring Sidney Poitier. Her more recent films include Malcolm X, Jungle Fever, Do the Right Thing and Get on the Bus. An alumna of Hunter College, in 1961 Ms. Dee starred in the acclaimed Purlie Victorious, written and directed by Mr. Davis. Ms. Dee was the first Black woman to play lead roles at the American Shakespeare Festival. Numerous awards she has received include the Obie, Drama Desk, Emmy, NAACP Image Award, National Medal of Arts, the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award, and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Silver Circle Award. She has been inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame and the NAACP Image Awards Hall of Fame. Last year, she and Mr. Davis were distinguished as Kennedy Center Honorees. Always giving back to the African American (and indeed the Pan African) community, Ms. Dee co-produced the first American feature film to be shot entirely in Africa by Black professionals. Ms. Dee and Mr. Davis served as masters of ceremonies for the historic 1963 March on Washington with Dr. Martin Luther King.
Special Honoree in the Performing Arts Ntozake Shange (pronounced en-to-zaki shong-gay) was born Paulette Williams in Trenton, N.J., on October 18, 1948. In 1971 she changed her name to Ntozake Shange which means "she who comes with her own things" and "she who walks like a lion" in Xhosa, the Zulu language. A 1970 cum laude graduate of Barnard College, majoring in American Studies, she, in 1973 earned a masterÂs degree in American Studies from the University of Southern California at Los Angeles. While living in California, she collaborated with Paula Moss on the poetry, music, and dance piece that would become her most noted work, for colored girls. Ms. Moss and Ms. Shange went to New York and performed for colored girls in a Soho jazz loft and later in bars in the lower East Side. Producer Woodie King Jr. saw one of these shows and helped director Oz Scott stage the ÂchoreopoemÂ Off-Broadway at the New Federal Theatre. It then moved to the New York Shakespeare Company's Anspacher Public Theatre, and then to the Booth Theatre. In addition to plays, Ms. Shange has written poetry, novels, and essays among other genre. She has taught at California State College, the City College of New York, the University of Houston, Rice University, Yale, Howard, and New York University. Among her many awards are an Obie, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Poetry, and a Pushcart Prize. Most recently, Ms Shange was nominated for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work for her recent childrenÂs book Ellington Was Not A Street.
In addition to his leadership roles at the National Cancer Institute and The Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention, Harold P. Freeman, M.D., Special Honoree in the Sciences, holds the academic position of Professor of Clinical Surgery at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Freeman also is a Diplomat of the American Board of Surgery and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, among numerous other significant professional distinctions. Dr. Freeman is the chief architect of the American Cancer Society's initiative on cancer in the poor and is a leading authority on the interrelationships between race, poverty, and cancer. Related to this, the ÂHarold P. Freeman AwardÂ was established by the American Cancer Society in 1990. This award may be given annually in ACS divisions throughout America to individuals who have made outstanding contributions in the fight against cancer in the poor. Dr. Freeman pioneered the development of ÂPatient NavigationÂ through his work in Harlem to eliminate any barriers to diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Such programs have been initiated at more than 200 sites throughout the nation.
Presented with pageantry and excitement, the daylong NYC ACT-SO Olympics of the Mind competition on April 23 offers students a singular experience and level of recognition that can greatly impact their lives long after high school. Students compete in 25 Humanities, Visual Arts, Performing Arts, and Sciences categories. At the Awards Ceremony on April 25, the top three winners in each category will receive a gold medal with $500 in cash, silver medal with $300, and bronze medal with $200. The NYC ACT-SO Olympics of the Mind gold medalists will advance (among 1,200 gold medalists from local competitions across the country) to the national NAACP ACT-SO Olympics of the Mind to be held July 7-11 in Milwaukee, where prizes are a gold medal with $2,000; silver with $1,500; and bronze with $1,000. Every national medalist also receives a fully-loaded laptop computer.
The NAACP NYC ACT-SO program is a 501(c) (3) volunteer organization funded by public and private donations. Founded in 1987 by Anton Tomlinson and Benjamin Duster IV, NYC ACT-SO is dedicated to promoting academic and cultural excellence among Black high school students. Its mission is to overcome the vicious cycle of low scholastic expectations and achievement that plagues minority communities throughout the city. More than 98 percent of NYC-ACT-SO students graduate from high school and 85 percent go on to college. Since its inception, NYC ACT-SO has mentored nearly 5,000 students through coaching sessions, the Olympics of the Mind, and other enrichment activities. NYC ACT-SO proudly carries on the legacy started by the late Vernon Jarrett, award-winning journalist, activist and founder of the national NAACP ACT-SO program in 1977. With more than 140 chapters nationwide, ACT-SO is the countryÂs largest program committed to the academic success of Black youth.
For more information about the Olympics of the Mind or Awards Ceremony tickets, the general public can call NYC ACT-SO at 212-666-9348 or visit http://www.actso.org.