Honoring a Mayor in the Name of a Public Servant

Written by Mary Newman on . Posted in News West Side Spirit.


The New York Society for Ethical Culture is honoring Mayor David Dinkins at the inaugural Dr. Phyllis Harrison-Ross Awards

This April, the New York Society for Ethical Culture will be honoring two great New Yorkers in the name of another who embodies the ethics of service that the organization champions. Mayor David N. Dinkins and Mecca Santana will be the first recipients of the Dr. Phyllis Harrison-Ross Service Awards.

Dr. Phyllis Harrison-Ross has spent her 35-year career working as a community mental health administrator and public servant, offering her skills in psychiatry and pediatrics. NYSEC collaborated with its affiliate United Social Services, Inc. in naming this award after Dr. Harrison-Ross in recognition of her decades of work in helping underprivileged New Yorkers.

The committee had originally approached Dr. Harrison-Ross to accept a community service award, but she didn’t want to be recognized in the spirit of volunteering because she has spent her entire career working to improve the lives of the mentally ill, the children of incarcerated parents, and children with special needs, including her time spent at the helm of the Metropolitan Hospital Community Mental Health Center as Chief of Psychiatry.

“I don’t volunteer; I have worked at this for 35 years. I am a public servant and I wanted to be recognized for the work I have accomplished in my career,” she explained. The committee, headed by Heather Grady, decided to name an award after Harrison-Ross, to honor those who have been committed to ethical action in everyday practice and leadership.

The event will be honoring David Dinkins, the 106th May of New York, for his commitment to improving the lives of city residents. Harrison-Ross has known the former Mayor for many years, and felt that his service to the city often goes unnoticed. She is excited to honor him for his improvement of Times Square, introducing “Safe Streets, Safe City,” and bringing Nelson Mandela to New York during is tour as President of South Africa.

New York State Chief Diversity Officer Mecca Santana will also be honored for her commitment to improving workforce diversity in New York State. She has also played an important role in supporting new initiatives that increase opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses.

“I think diversity is a very important focus for religious and educational institutions,” Dr. Harrison-Ross said. “It has always been my nature to stand up for those in difficult situations, helping the people who need it most. I am excited to be given the chance to celebrate people working to increase ethical action.”

If you would like to take part in the inaugural benefit on April 2nd, visit the website www.socialserviceboard.org. NYSEC and United Social Services, Inc. have worked together for over 100 years introducing community programs, public service, and ethical action. In honor of Dr. Phyllis Harrison-Ross, the public service communities of New York will take a night to celebrate those who are working tirelessly to do the same.

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