Governor Corbett Honors Everyday Heroes for Black History Month

Feb 27, 2013, 13:47 ET from Pennsylvania Office of the Governor

HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 27, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Tom Corbett today recognized African American leaders from across Pennsylvania for their commitment and dedication to their community.

These everyday heroes have excelled in their professional fields while making a difference in the lives of individuals around them.

"We honor five people today - a youth advocate, two educators, a community outreach leader and a doctor," Corbett said. "Generations to come will see the impact they have on others and their community because of the dedication and optimism they share with all of us."

Those recognized at a ceremony at the State Museum of Pennsylvania include:

  • Cassandra Vaughn – Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capitol Region
  • Dr. Kathy HumphreyUniversity of Pittsburgh
  • Denise Williams – Mt. Ararat Community Activity Center, Inc.
  • Dr. Deborah WittThomas Jefferson University Hospital
  • Dr. Ron JacksonCommunity College of Philadelphia

The ceremony coincides with the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln, which some suggest was the turning point in the Civil War that commenced the end of slavery.  Items from The State Museum's Emancipation Proclamation exhibit were on display during the ceremony.

"During Black History Month, we will continue to celebrate historic figures such as Martin Luther King Jr.," said Karen Stokes, executive director and chairperson of the Governor's Advisory Commission on African American Affairs. "But it is just as important to recognize the contributions made by people like little league coaches, teachers and community volunteers. Their strength and dedication is a hallmark of the African American community."

The honorees were nominated by members of the Governor's Advisory Commission on African American Affairs.

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Media contactKirsten Page, 717-783-1116

Editors Note: The biographies of the Black History Month honorees are listed below:

Cassandra Vaughn, Harrisburg
Director of Community Based Services
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Region
Ms. Vaughn has dedicated her life to serving the youth in her community and helping kids who face adversity to beat the odds.  As treatment supervisor at the Cornell Abraxas Alternative Education Program, she developed programs to support the educational needs of more than 200 students.  She currently supervises the enrollment and match mentoring program for nearly 700 adults and kids.

Dr. Kathy Humphrey, Pittsburgh
Vice Provost and Dean of Students, University of Pittsburgh
Dr. Humphrey has dedicated her career to helping college students cultivate their purpose and find their passion, as well as giving them the tools to find success in both the classroom and the world.

She is a member of the board of directors of the American Red Cross of Southwestern Pennsylvania and vice chair for the board of directors for Leadership Pittsburgh; a non-profit dedicated to strengthening regional leadership by identifying, enriching and providing networking opportunities for the next generation of leaders. 

She is also a board member for the Three Rivers Adoption Council, a group committed to creating adoption opportunities and providing a range of services for children growing up without permanent, caring families.

Denise Williams, Pittsburgh
Executive Director Mount Ararat Community Activity Center, Inc.
The Mount Ararat Community Activity Center is a non-profit organization that, for more than 20 years, has provided an array of programs and services designed to improve the quality of life for those in the East End community and to empower individuals and families to become productively independent.

Dr. Deborah Witt, Philadelphia
Assistant Professor, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
Dr. Witt is an avid clinician, teacher and supporter of educating our communities about health issues and preparing residents and medical students to provide culturally sensitive, quality health care. She is actively involved in community services and speaks on various health care topics.

As CFO and medical director of Glory Unlimited Evangelistic Ministries International, she has organized volunteer medical teams to travel abroad and provide medical services to impoverished communities.  Dr. Witt serves on numerous boards and is a volunteer for the American Diabetes Association and the American Cancer Society.

Dr. Ron Jackson, Philadelphia
Dean of Students, Community College of Philadelphia
Dr. Jackson is the creator of The Center for Male Engagement, a student support services program for African American males. The Center offers mentorship opportunities and summer enrichment programs to help African American males navigate the college environment and achieve their academic goals.

SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor