Syracuse New York's Beth Broadway wins 2018 Paul Aicher Leadership in Democracy Award

December 21, 2018

December 21, 2018
Sandra Rodriguez, Everyday Democracy Communications Dept., (860) 712-4047

Beth Broadway of InterFaith Works of Central New York is Announced
the Winner of the Paul and Joyce Aicher Leadership in Democracy Award


For more than 25 years, Everyday Democracy has worked with communities across the country to foster a healthy and vibrant democracy – characterized by strong relationships across divides, leadership development, including the voices of all people, and understanding and addressing structural racism.

Beth A. Broadway was recognized for her more than 40 years as a force for justice, raising voice to issues of oppression, and advancing racial and social equity through the process of dialogue and action. Her racial equity work has directly impacted thousands of individuals and families and has markedly improved Syracuse and surrounding communities.

“Throughout her career, Beth has championed democracy and bridge building across divides of ethnicity, race, faith and socioeconomic background.” said Beth’s nominator, Shiu-Kai Chin, PhD, Prof., Syracuse University College of Engineering & Computer Science and Chair of the Board of InterFaith Works. “She has created space for the voices of those who often go unheard, and nurtured leadership skills in those who are frequently marginalized. At 11, she watched her mother stand firm in front of angry neighbors trying to prevent African American children from getting off their school bus at her newly desegregated school. Beth’s mother stepped between the mob and children to escort them into the building. Her mother’s courage is the touchstone for Beth’s work in civil rights and human service.”

Beth first served as a social worker for Head Start in Chicago. Working with single moms and pre-school children, she provided leadership training and a forum for mothers to learn to advocate for themselves and their children. To this day, Beth credits those moms with teaching her about helping people find their voice.

Beth has been one of the design thinkers and implementers of two city-wide democracy building initiatives, each of which has continued for more than 23 years. The two initiatives are The Leadership Classroom that trains grassroots leaders to view the world through a lens of equity and power, and Tomorrow’s Neighborhoods Today, a neighborhood planning model that assembles grassroots groups, social service agencies, businesses and governmental departments in Syracuse to identify critical needs and develop annual and long-range plans for the city’s neighborhoods.

After serving as a consultant and board member for six years, Beth became director of the Community-Wide Dialogue to End Racism in 2001 which is now the Ahmad and Elizabeth El-Hindi Center for Dialogue. The Center focuses on ending racism, improving police-community relations and interfaith understanding. After participating in Everyday Democracy’s Communities Creating Racial Equity learning community, Beth adapted the dialogue work to take action on a specific need facing Syracuse: a city school district whose staff members are largely white and suburban teaching students that are largely of color. That work has contributed to increasing diversity of teaching staff in Syracuse and a commitment to continuing the work of creating equitable education opportunities for students of color. The Community-Wide Dialogue is one of the longest continually running programs of its type in the nation, having directly engaged over 12,000 people to date. It actively serves as model for communities across the country.

In 2010, she assumed the role of President/CEO of the entire agency, which, in addition to the above, settles refugees and is a welcoming center for immigrants and New Americans to the Central New York region. The agency also promotes interfaith understanding, provides chaplaincy services to people who are incarcerated and institutionalized, and serves frail elderly to affirm their dignity and break through the isolation and loneliness that often accompanies aging. “Beth has raised the profile and practice of Dialogue to Change in Syracuse and across the country, and has held up a consistent vision of democratic participation connected to equitable change,” said Everyday Democracy’s Executive Director Martha McCoy. “ Beth models what it means to be a white ally – a leader who is committed to racial justice and to democratic dialogue and engagement. She demonstrates how to build inclusive spaces for people to start where they are and deepen their understanding of racial justice.”

“It is an honor to be selected by one’s peers for recognition, especially peers like those at Everyday Democracy, who have helped our nation develop the tools of dialogue and a racial equity lens that will keep our democracy strong. This award means a great deal to me, but is really a testament to the many hard working people, both staff and volunteers, that make InterFaith Works the caring, compassionate, and forward thinking agency that it is. The gift that accompanies this award will be added to our newly founded endowment that will assure that this work will go on for many years to come.”

This year, the Committee also recognized a Runner Up, Mayme Webb Bledsoe of the Duke Durham Neighborhood Partnership in North Carolina. They also recognized these strong finalists for the award: Campus Compact of Oregon; Marcia DuFore of the North Central Regional Mental Health Board in Connecticut; and the Michigan Community Scholars Program. Honorable Mentions went to: InterAction Initiative (Taeyin ChoGlueck and Deandra Cadet), Mishawaka, Indiana; and Deeqo Jibril, Roxbury, Massachusetts. Recognition of Promising Practices went to: The Connecticut Youth Forum, Hartford, Connecticut; Equity Arcata, Arcata, California; The Multicultural Resource Center, Ithaca NY; and Tracey Robertson, FitOshKosh, Oshkosh, Wisconsin.


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Mayme Webb Bledsoe of the Duke Durham Neighborhood Partnership Uses Dialogue to Lift Voices in the Duke / Durham Community 

Dialogue to Change

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