The CHRO presents the 2015 Leaders and Legends Awards

The CHRO is proud to announce the 2015 Leaders and Legends Awards. The public will have the opportunity to nominate members of the Connecticut community for six awards celebrating diversity and inclusion!

The awards categories are as follows:

  • The Alvin W. Penn Award for Excellence in Leadership

Alvin Penn was an African American state senator from Bridgeport, who fought tirelessly for the city, the urban poor and for African Americans across the state.  He is best known for legislation that mandates the collection of traffic stop data in an effort to deter racial profiling in the state.  Nominees for this award must be municipal, state, or federal officials who exhibit the leadership qualities of Alvin Penn.

  • The Paul Newman Award for Using Media as a Platform for Social Change (Permission being sought)

Paul Newman lived in Westport, Connecticut, and was an American actor, film director, entrepreneur, professional race car driver, auto racing team owner, environmentalist, social activist and philanthropist.  Nominees for this award must be entertainers/artists that use art or their instrument to bring about positive social change.

  • The Constance Baker Motley Award for Excellence in Business or Law

Constance Baker Motley was an African American civil rights activist, lawyer, judge, and state senator.  She was the first female African American federal judge.  Nominees for this award must be business men or women or attorneys who are distinguished in their field for promoting equality and fairness.

  • The Maria Colon Sanchez Award for Community Activism

Maria Colon Sanchez was an activist and politician who, in 1988, became the first Hispanic woman elected to the Connecticut General Assembly. She founded the Puerto Rican Parade Committee in 1964 and also, co-founded La Casa de Puerto Rico, the Society of Legal Services, the Spanish-American Merchants Association, the Puerto Rican Businessmen Association, and the Community Renewal Team.  Nominees for this award must be dedicated to their communities and exhibit the spirit and grass roots organizational skills that promote diversity and inclusion.

  • The Edythe J. Gaines Award for Inclusive Education

Edith Gaines was the first African American and first woman to head the Hartford school system. Her career began in New York City.  She was the youngest principal in the history of the New York City School system and its first African American principal. In 1960 she became District Superintendent of Schools, Community School District 12 in the Bronx.  After her tenure as Superintendent, she became a Commissioner at the Department of Public Utility Control in CT. Nominees for this award must be educators who dedicated their careers to promoting equality, inclusion and fairness in education.

  • The Mario and Janet Vigezzi Award for Social Justice

Mario Vigezzi worked for the CHRO for twenty five years and was the chief of field operations.  He fought for equality and for the rights of brass workers.  He was a member of many organizations including the NAACP and AFSCME.  Janet Vigezzi  was employed as a stockbroker and in the urban planning field. She was a member and officer of the North End Community Club of Waterbury, the Waterbury NAACP, League of Women Voters, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Ellis Island Foundation.  She was also the treasurer of the Northwest Connecticut Emergency Medical Services Council.  Both were advocates for social justice and equality.  Nominees for this award must advocate for employee rights and promote equality through their work.

To nominate someone you know, please download the Nomination Form here.