The Red Bandana Fund is proud to announce that two immigrants, Phil Edmonds and Omar Bah, are recipients of the Red Bandana Award for 2017. The Award, the fifth annual, honors individuals and groups whose work embodies the spirit and work of Richard Walton, a longtime Rhode Island activist who died in 2012. The awards will be presented on Sunday, June 4th at a celebration at the Providence Firefighters Memorial Hall, 92 Printery St., Providence, from 3 to 6 pm. The event is open to the public and is family-friendly.
“We’re very aware of the political climate today, and our awards reflect the current issues,” Stephen Graham, chair of the awards committee noted. “
Phil Edmonds, originally from Ireland, is a long-time resident of the Providence area who has been a constant presence in many local campaigns for justice, peace, and the rights of the poor and homeless. “More than anything, we’re acknowledging that Phil has served as an example of what it means to live a simple, peaceful conscious life,” said Bill Harley, a member of the committee. “People talk about ‘walking the walk, talking the talk’ all the time, but Phil actually does it. He treads lightly on the planet.” A stalwart in the Providence music scene as a member of the highly popular, world music band the Gnomes, he is as loved and respected as much for his music as his activism.
“When the Red Bandana Award was created, Phil was on our mind from the very beginning,” Harley noted. “We can all learn from him.”
Omar Bah, founder and director of the Refugee Dream Center in Providence, is an immigrant from Gambia, who escaped imprisonment and torture to come to the United States. Led by his own experiences, he has become an important voice for the powerless and discounted, and a powerful advocate for refugees in the current hostile political environment. “Omar has been recognized by many organizations in the past year, but his work was so important, and his organization works on such a shoestring here in the Providence area, we felt this recognition was important and well-deserved.”
“We’ve moved our party to the Fireman’s Hall this year – it gives us more space for everyone, and room for dancing, which Phil Edmonds will love.”