This Sunday, the Red Bandana Fund will award Eric Hirsch and the workers at the Renaissance Hotel Red Bandana Awards for 2015. The Award honors individuals and groups whose work embodies the spirit and work of Richard Walton, a longtime activist in the Rhode Island area who died in 2012. This is the third year the awards have been given.
Past recipients include:
Henry Shelton, 2014
Providence Student Union, 2014
and Amos House, 2013
The Red Bandana Fund was created to help sustain Rhode Island’s community of individuals and organizations that embody the lifelong peace and justice ideals of activist Richard J. Walton. Through the Red Bandana Fund, an annual financial award is made to an organization or individual whose work best represents the ideals of peace and social justice that exemplify Richard’s life work.
Richard Walton had an outdoor party every year, on the banks of the Pawtuxet Cove in Warwick, in which people from all over the country would gather from all walks of life and political activism to raise money for Amos House. He did this every year, on his birthday, up until his death December 27, 2012. The Red Bandana Fund has continued this tradition every year since then.
This Sunday, May 31st, between 4 and 7pm, at Nick-A-Nees 74 South Street in Providence, the 3rd Annual Red Bandana celebration will be held. There will be food, drink, music and laughter. They were many deserving nominees this year, all of which one could make an excellent argument for winning the award. This year’s Awardees are Eric Hirsch and the Renaissance Hotel workers.
Bill Harley, president of the Red Bandana Fund that oversees the award noted, “We’re very excited about the honorees this year. There were many nominations for deserving individuals and groups. Eric and the workers from Renaissance represent all of the people working for a better life for all of us here in the Rhode Island area. Those of us who remember Richard Walton feel he would be very happy that these folks are being honored.”
Eric Hirsch, a professor of sociology at Providence College, is the rare breed of academic who translates his knowledge and research into action in the real world. A tireless advocate for the poor and homeless, he has worked with the RI Coalition for the Homeless on the streets, in the classroom, and in the statehouse, striving to help the less fortunate in our area.
The workers at the Renaissance Hotel, many of them first generation immigrants, have bravely spoken out for their need for a union. Their union organizing has continued for a number of years, despite the resistance of the hotel management. The workers insistence on their right to decent working conditions and a living wage reminds us that all people are entitled to a decent, sustainable life.
“Richard had a party this time every year,” Harley commented, “and what we’re doing is completely in keeping with his words, actions and spirit.”
So come this Sunday and join with us as we gather together to honor the past, and the future, in memory of Richard Walton. Buy yourself a an official, Richard Walton, Red Bandana and a beer, as we toast those who have worked for, and continue to work for, social justice in Rhode Island.
See you there.
To find out more about The Red Bandana Fund or to make a contribution, click here http://www.soup.org/page1/RedBandana.html.
(Core participants in organizing the event this year include: Rick Wahlberg, Barbara Wahlberg, Karen Malcolm, Jane Murphy, Stephen Graham, Ellen Fingeret, Maggi Rogers, Ed Benson, Zack Mezera, Mary Ann Rossoni, Bill Harley, Jodi Glass, Cathy Barnard & Richard Walton, Jr.)
Artwork courtesy of Mary Ann Rossoni http://www.secondstorygraphics.com/