Two South Side community leaders will receive the 2019 Dan and Mary Lou Rubenstein Social Justice Award Monday evening at Hendricks Chapel. Lepa Jones, president of Mothers Against Gun Violence along with A Tiny Home for Good have been recognized for their commitment to service and social justice in the Syracuse community.
Mothers Against Gun Violence is a grassroots organizations working to address and prevent gun violence by engaging with community leaders, politicians, media and local organizations. A Tiny Home for Good, Inc. works to reduce homelessness by building and managing affordable, safe and dignified homes.
Dr. Kenneth Marfilius, organizer of the award program and a visiting teaching professor, said Jones exemplifies the spirit of the award by confronting difficult and vital issues.
“I am very honored and grateful to receive the social justice award not only for myself but my community and many who stand on the front line as we continue to spread love, peace and guidance on to each other,” Jones said. “Thank you Syracuse University School of Social Work, Mothers Against Gun Violence for allowing me to be your president and the Trauma Response Team for all your amazing work. You can not spell community without unity.”
Recipients of the award are nominated by Syracuse University Falk College School of Social Work faculty. Marfilius said he nominated A Tiny Home for Good for its strong dedication to serving those in need.
“When we think about our fellow citizens who are experiencing homelessness, what better way for them to overcome adversity by embracing resilience in their own safe and dignified home,” he said. “We are thankful for A Tiny Home for Good for helping to make this a reality.”
In nominating Jones, Dr. Eric Kingson, professor of social work at SU, said “Lepa Jones is a Syracuse heroine. She turned the pain of losing two children into compassionate and effective advocacy to end gun violence.”
The award program will also feature a keynote address titled “Overcoming Adversity: Embracing Resilience and Social Change” given by Col. Parker Schenecker, United States Army (retired). Schenecker has been noted for more than 30 years of government service including serving as a leader in the U.S. Intelligence community and for counter-terrorism efforts in the Middle East. He will share his story of service, resilience and overcoming adversity.
The Dan and Mary Lou Rubenstein Social Justice Award is given in honor of the late professor Dan Rubenstein, a former faculty member in the School of Social Work and his late wife, Mary Lou, a former school social worker. The award has been presented over three decades to honorees who are role models of courage and strength.
— Article by Nabiha Asim, The Stand Intern