ABOVE PHOTO: Knoxville College alumni (142 years of service as one of the oldest HBCU) Friends of Labor scholarship recipients. (Photo courtesy: LECET)
The Friends of Labor Committee of Laborers’ Local 332 held its 31st Annual Charity Dinner last weekend. The event is an opportunity to recognize those that perform outstanding and meaningful community service and exceptional service to the labor industry.
The event, according to Toni Staten, LCD Executive Director of LECET, was the brain-child of the late labor leader Sam Staten Sr., who was a considered a giant in the Philadelphia labor movement for more than 50 years, having risen through the ranks of Laborers’ Local 332
“It was important to him [Staten] to help the union members and to address those issues of concern to them,” she said. “Assisting them to educate their children and helping them to address the social concerns impacting them and their families were necessary.”
Congressman Dwight Evans (D-2nd District), was selected “Outstanding Community Leader,” and Joseph Ashdale, was recognized as “Outstanding Labor Leader.” Both were presented the organization’s prestigious “Sammie” named in honor of the late Laborers’ Local 332 leader Samuel Staten Sr.
A number of prominent political figures including Pennsylvania’s Governor Tom Wolf, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, and Congressman Robert Brady, State Representative Jordan Harris, State Senator Vincent Hughes and many others were in attendance at the event, which was held at the Hilton Hotel at Penn’s Landing on Saturday, October 28, 2017.
Outstanding Community Leader Award Recipient–Congressman Dwight Evans
The recipients of the Community Leader award, according to Staten are those persons who have made great contributions to their communities at large and to the advancement of labor. Staten pointed to the revitalization of the Philadelphia’s Oak Lane section during the past 25 years, while under the stewardship of now Congressman Evans and then Pennsylvania State Representative. “The revitalization of a once declining neighborhood, has advanced with a proliferation of business opportunities, shopping centers, housing and educational opportunities,” said Staten.
Labor Man of the Year Leader Recipient–Joseph Ashdale
State explained in the category of “Labor Leader,” that This person is always a member of the building trades, whose performance demonstrates that he or she has given of himself or herself for the benefit of the membership.”
This year, Joseph Ashdale, business manager/secretary-treasurer of the Painters & Allied Trades D.C. #21 was awarded the Labor Man of the Year Award, because according to Toni Staten “he demonstrated to his members through his performance in such areas of collective bargaining and meeting their daily concerns, that they come first.”
Scholarship Award Recipients
In the category of scholarship recipient, Laborers’ 332 mission is to provide assistance to organizations for the purpose of advancing their programmatic thrusts.
- Knoxville College Alumni Association —The group is working to assist the Historically Black College to maintain its standing and to support its alumni activities. Knoxville College lost its accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) in 1997. The college struggled financially, and student enrollment declined. Efforts are underway to launch a rebirth of the institution, which suspended classes in 2015.
- Fathers and Children Together (F.A.C.T.) —The program is a result of a collaboration among African-American and Latino incarcerated men at the State Correctional Institution — Graterford to resolve the challenges of fatherlessness and intergenerational incarceration, the school-to-prison pipeline, and violence. Ultimately, the program seeks to help incarcerated fathers reunite with their children and to remove the obstacles that prevent their children from living happy and productive lives.
- Nathaniel Sabir Memorial College Fund (NSMSF) —The fund was founded in memory of the late Nathaniel Sabir, who served as the Laborers’ Local 332 Secretary Treasurer and was a member of the union’s executive board. The award will allow NSMSF to help students pursue higher education and assist the educational needs of aspiring college students.
The gala event was a huge success ,thanks to an active year of fundraising which, included members of Laborers’ Local 332, led by Sam Staten Jr., sponsors and friends, all who helped raise thousands of dollars for the various non-profit organizations.