A doctor, a mayor, and a community activist are among five women who will be honored for their volunteerism and service by the local chapter of the National Council of Negro Women during a virtual ceremony on Saturday.
The Women of Courage and Conviction Awards celebrate those who give back to the Boston community, often while balancing volunteering with their career and families, said Lisa Braxton, president of the Greater Boston section of the National Council of Negro Women.
“We are focusing on showcasing the volunteer work of outstanding, extraordinary women who give up their time — sacrifice their time — to give back to the Greater Boston community,” she said in a telephone interview.
Dr. Jeanette Adele Callahan; Claudine Bruff-Lopes; Framingham’s mayor, Yvonne M. Spicer; Marcia Kimm-Jackson; and Brenda Thompson Stuckey will be honored this year, the organization said in a statement.
“We are honoring and acknowledging the important contributions and the important work of African Americans in a way that mainstream America has not done,” Braxton said.
Kimm-Jackson is a human resource specialist and a community activist who has worked with the West Fairmount Hill Community Group in Hyde Park, the organization said.
Stuckey is the director of diversity, equity, and inclusion for Atrius Health, and has worked in community programs to bridge gaps in employment opportunities.
Spicer in 2018 became the first Black woman popularly elected a mayor in Massachusetts. She formerly was the vice president of advocacy and educational partnerships at the Museum of Science.
Claudine Bruff-Lopes, who is a co-founder of Black Nurses Rock New England, said she cares deeply about community health.
She is humbled by the honor, Bruff-Lopes said.
“Serving and helping others is never ever for recognition or money,” she said.
Growing up in the Dorchester-Roxbury area, Bruff-Lopes said she did not see many Black women working at her community health center. She decided to become a nurse so that children in her community could see themselves in her.
“Where other Black women have paved the way for me, I’m paving the way for others to come,” said Bruff-Lopes, who now works at DotHouse Health. “And that’s important.”
Braxton also said she hopes the awards inspire young people.
“It tells young people that they can make a difference in society,” she said. “In addition to their careers, they can volunteer and make an impact in their communities.”
Dr. Jeanette Callahan is also being honored for her work to keep children and families healthy.
She is a clinical associate at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, a general pediatrician at Cambridge Health Alliance, and a member of the executive and strategy teams of the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization.
She and her husband also helped found a farm camp that brought children from the South End to a farm in Lexington, where they learned how to grow food to bring home.
Her passion is helping young people lead healthy lives, she said.
Currently, she is working on The Wellness Collaborative, a nonprofit aimed at reimagining health care through issues such as housing, food insecurity, and education.
She said she was shocked when she found out she was receiving the award.
“I was just pleasantly surprised that the work was appreciated,” she said. “I was delighted and honored. It gave me a bit of a kick to keep going.”
In previous years, the awards have been the organization’s largest fund-raiser, Braxton said. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the awards are being held online.
“We feel it will be as impactful as it has been in the past,” Braxton said.