Former NYC Mayor David N. Dinkins Receives Humanitarian Award in Harlem

June 26, 2017

Former New York City Mayor David N. Dinkins was honored with the 2016 Emma L. Bowen Community Service Center Humanitarian Award on Thursday, June 22, 2017 before a group that included young students from the Emma L. Bowen Therapeutic Preschool, who graduated later in the day. The students performed “My White Shoes” by Pete the Cat for Mr. Dinkins during the ceremony, which recognized his dedication to children and those with mental health issues.

“The Emma L. Bowen Humanitarian Award is presented to individuals who epitomize the legacy of the late Emma L. Bowen,” said Patricia Jordan, Chair of the Board of Directors. She continued, “Mayor’s Dinkins’ commitment to children and mental health-related issues throughout his career embody the essence of our founder, Ms. Bowen. The Board and I are delighted to recognize his lifetime of distinguished achievements.”

David Norman Dinkins served as NYS Assemblyman, President of the NYC Board of Elections, City Clerk, and Manhattan Borough President prior to being elected the 106th Mayor in 1989. As the first African American Mayor of the City of New York, he increased mental health services and created the “Safe Streets, Safe City: Cops and Kids” program, which incorporated mental health best practices, strengthened communities, and helped reduce crime.

The Emma L. Bowen Community Services Center Therapeutic Preschool Program is year-round program that enhances its curriculum with speech and occupational therapy, physical therapy and mental health services for children aged 3-5 with emotional and behavioral difficulties and cognitive and language delays. The preschool prepares children for entry into public or private school in less-restrictive environments, as well as special education programs.

Ms. Bowen was a strong advocate for community-based mental health and holistic supportive services, often referring to mental health issues as “problems of living.” recognizing the dignity of those who struggle with these issues while coping with the challenges of poverty as well.

Following the awards ceremony, Mayor Dinkins attended the “Moving Up” graduating ceremony of the students and posed for pictures with all the graduates.

Visit the Emma L. Bowen Community Service Center at

Photo 1) Mayor David Dinkins accepts his Humanitarian Award with a special message to the parents of the Emma L. Bowen Therapeutic Preschool, “God bless you…there’s nothing more important than our children. And as a father and grandfather, believe me, I understand it.” 2) (From left to right) William Witherspoon, Executive Director Emma L. Bowen Community Service Center “Bowen Center”, G. Keith Alexander, Master of Ceremonies, Mayor David Dinkins, Patricia Jordan, Chair of the Board of Directors, Bowen Center. (Back left to right) Lawrence Fowler, Deputy Director, Bowen Center, and Robert Crawford, 2016 Recipient of the Emma L. Bowen Achievement Award. 3): Mayor David Dinkins sits with parents as students from the Emma L. Bowen Therapeutic Preschool receive their “Moving Up” graduation certificates. 4) Mayor David Dinkins poses with graduates from the Emma L. Bowen Therapeutic Preschool. 5) Certified Preschool Teacher Martha Soto, Mayor David Dinkins and G. Keith Alexander.

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