Free For All – Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture Celebration – 15th Annual Dr. Betty Shabazz Awards Ceremony

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 16.53.03The Schomburg Center and Women In Islam Inc. in their annual collaborative ceremony honors leaders in the community. This year’s honorees include nationally-recognized scholar, speaker, interfaith activist, and Professor Larycia Hawkins, award-winning fashion designer, educator and entrepreneur Nzinga Knight, and Madame Assetou Sy, founder of “Finally Girls Matter” and an activist towards eradicating female gential mutilation.

Sunday, May 22, 2016, 3pm
515 Malcolm X Boulevard
(917) 275-6975


Dr. Larycia Hawkins is a nationally recognized scholar, speaker, and activist. Dr. Hawkins’s publications and research engage the intersection of race/ethnicity, religion, and politics. Her recent publications include Prophetic and Priestly: The Politics of a Black Catholic Parish (2015) and Jesus and Justice: The Moral Framing of the Black Agenda (2015). In 2013 Hawkins became the first female African-American tenured professor at Wheaton College where she served as Associate Professor of Political Science.  Her scholarship focuses on the relationship between black theology and the rhetoric, policies, and agendas of African-American organizations and movements. This year Hawkins will join the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia as the Abd el-Kader Visiting Faculty Fellow. She plans to  focuse on the relationships between races and religions. She also will serve as a scholar on the Pluralism Project and on the Race, Faith, and Culture Project.

Nzinga Knight is an award-winning New York based fashion designer, educator, entrepreneur, and chef, with the 2015 launch of Brooklyn Brewed Sorrel, a premium adult non-alcoholic brewed and aged beverage. She studied fashion design and fine arts at the prestigious Pratt Institute School of Design in New York City, where she earned a B.F.A. in Fashion Design in 2005 and has received multiple design awards after launching her first capsule collection in 2009. In 2014 Knight became the first American Muslim “Hijabi” contestant on the Emmy Award-winning design competition show Project Runway.

Madame Assetou Sy is the founder of Finally Girls Matter (FGM), a movement that celebrates progress, a respect for human rights and is a safe haven which brings international and local resources that inspire women to be vocal and hardworking. Sy is also the Executive Founder and Director of the Malian Cultural Center of New York, which holds a United Nations-NGO status, 501c3 org  and has been recognized by the City of New York as a remarkable and dynamic organization, bringing culture and education to the children of African heritage. She continues to be the voice of many voiceless women and children who suffer from cultural, religious and even physical abuse. She is the President of the Cultural Commission of the High Counsel of Malian Association of the USA; one of the founding members of the Malian Women’s Association, AMADA; and the Honorable President of the Malian Journalist Association. She has also received the “Council City Of New York Proclamation Award” for three consecutive years.

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