The African Hall Subcommittee of the Springfield Museums will present the 21st annual Ubora Award and the 4th annual Ahadi Youth Award at a ceremony on Saturday, September 15, at 6 pm., at the Michele & Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts at the Quadrangle. City Councilor E. Henry Twiggs has been selected to receive the Ubora Award, and Miss Dana Adrianna Lawes will receive the Ahadi Youth Award.
The Ubora Award, which means excellence in Swahili, is presented to an African-American who has made a significant contribution to the greater Springfield area. The Ahadi Youth Award, which means promise, is presented to an African-American young person who demonstrates strong character, leadership, academic achievement, and future potential.
Mr. E. Henry Twiggs, Springfield’s Ward 4 City Councilor, has been actively involved in Democratic Party politics at every level for more than 50 years. Councilor Twiggs’ voice is heard and respected by the Democratic Party leadership in Springfield, Boston and Washington.
As a tireless civil rights organizer, Councilor Twiggs was one of the people who crossed the Edmund Pettis Bridge during the Selma to Montgomery March. He was an active participant in the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and strove to keep Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream alive through his work on the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign march on Washington.
He has also been active in fraternal organizations and civic affairs for many years. A proud Shriner, Councilor Twiggs has held many significant posts within Masonic lodges, and was recognized as Master Mason of the Year in 1999 and 2003. Among his many civic activities, he has served as Chairman of the McKnight Neighborhood Council, President of Harambee Holiday, Inc., and was a founding member of 5A, the youth mentoring organization that uses sports to provide academic assistance and leadership development to young people.
Dana Lawes, the Ahadi Youth Award winner, is a 2012 graduate of Springfield Central High School and is attending Newbury College in Brookline this fall.
In high school, she challenged herself by taking honors and advanced placement courses and earned a 4.2 grade point average. Her success was recognized when she was selected for the MassMutual Academic Achievers and the National Honor Society. She also put tremendous effort into applying for scholarships to ensure that she would be able to attend college.
Dana’s values are deeply grounded in her family and faith. She and her two siblings are the children of Jamaican immigrant parents. Her mother instilled in Dana a strong work ethic and the commitment to focus on her goals. Dana completed a Teen Mini Medical School program at Baystate Hospital and participated after school for three years in the Baystate Springfield Educational Partnership, where she interned in the nutrition, injury prevention, environmental services and distribution services departments. Through this experience, she determined that she would like to investigate a business career in either the medical or hospitality fields.
Dana is an active participant in her church and is a volunteer for the Springfield Rescue Mission which serves homeless people in the city. As part of a 2010 church youth group initiative, “Youth Against Suffering,” she worked on a campaign to raise money and awareness for a group called Ending Now Violence Against Women.
In everything she does, Dana is dedicated to excellence and thoroughness. She has the drive and skills to continue being an important and contributing member of her college community as well as of the larger community.
The Ubora and Ahadi Award presentations will be followed by a reception at the Springfield Science Museum across the Quadrangle.
Admission to the event is $15 for adults and $10 for children under 12. For information or advance reservations, call 413.263.6800, ext. 325. Free, secure onsite parking is available.