Harlem’s Emma Bowen Center Humanitarian Medal 2022 Awardees

November 23, 2022

Radio Hall of Fame Inductee, multimedia mogul, and best-selling author, Charlamagne Tha God, was awarded the distinguished Emma L. Bowen Humanitarian Medal.

The Medal was awarded during a gala celebration in New York City on Friday, November 18th, 2022.

“The Humanitarian Medal recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to individuals with the same passion and zeal as our late founder, Mrs. Emma L. Bowen” said Patricia C. Jordan, Bowen Center Board Chair. “Like Mrs. Bowen, Charlemagne has dedicated himself to helping individuals face mental health issues by overcoming the numerous stigmas surrounding mental health, especially in minority communities, so they can effectively overcome their struggles to lead productive lives.”

Held at Lume Studios in Downtown Manhattan, the Humanitarian Awards event was a celebration of the evening’s honorees and Bowen Center clients, who shared their struggles with mental health illness and addiction and explained how the Bowen Center was pivotal in helping them to overcome their challenges.

In addition to awarding the Humanitarian Medal to Charlamagne, the Bowen Center presented its Community Leadership Awards to Wanda Matos of Ponce Bank and Luis Laboy, of Acacia Network for their extraordinary commitment to supporting individuals and businesses throughout The Bronx and Upper Manhattan.

And as a surprise at the end of the evening, the Bowen Center presented an additional Humanitarian Medal to its long-term Board Chairperson, Patricia C. Jordan, who has been with the organization since it‘s inception and was the successor to her longtime friend Mrs. Bowen.

The Emma L. Bowen Community Service Center has provided accessible mental health, addiction treatment, and supportive services to the Harlem community and beyond from one convenient location, since 1986.

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Bowen’s vast array of programs and services includes a therapeutic preschool, one of only a few programs in the City of New York that works primarily with African American/Black and Latino preschoolers struggling with mental health illnesses, developmental delays, autism and emotional trauma; outpatient mental health services for children and adolescents; programs for adults & seniors dealing with mental health and addiction recovery challenges; a Clubhouse program that provides support for its seriously mentally ill members and provides training to enable individuals to return to work and constructively participate in the community; a care management team that provides advocacy and supportive services to clients and home-bound individuals citywide; a 20-bed residential addiction recovery facility (located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan), and a food pantry program that provides more than 80,400 packages of emergency food relief monthly to individuals who are experiencing financial difficulties.

Here are the awardees:

Charlamagne Tha God

Lenard “Charlamagne Tha God” McKelvey is a multimedia mogul, Radio Hall of Fame inductee, and bestselling author. He co-hosts the hottest radio show in the U.S., The Breakfast Club, heard by over 4.5 million listeners daily, as well as hosts a late-night show on Comedy Central co-created with Stephen Colbert.

Additionally, Charlamagne is the author of the New York Times bestseller Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It and the national bestseller Shook One: Anxiety Playing Tricks on Me.

The Emma L. Bowen Humanitarian Medal

The Emma L. Bowen Humanitarian Medal is presented to individuals who provide exceptional leadership and unfailing dedication to communities and individuals in need. Their efforts on behalf of others epitomize the legacy of our founder Mrs. Emma L. Bowen. Previous honorees include Cynthia Germanotta, who co-founded the Born This Way Foundation with her daughter Lady Gaga, Tony Award Winner and Kennedy Center Honoree Bill T. Jones, NBC New York Meteorologist Janice Huff, cosmetics executive and founder of Getting Out and Staying Out Mark Goldsmith and financial specialist Cynthia DiBartolo.

Emma L. Bowen

Emma L. Bowen was a mother, community activist and fighter for justice who was always concerned about the well-being of her neighbors as well as her community. Recognizing that the roots of community mental health issues lie in the self-images of oppressed individuals and that these images were largely created and bolstered by the mass media, she organized Black people across the City of New York to take action against the broadcast industry. In 1971, her hard work and dedication resulted in the signing of a landmark agreement with the City’s television broadcasters – WABC, WNBC and WCBS to create a Community Affairs Director position, at each station. This person was responsible for improving the quality of programming and developing training programs and employment opportunities for people of color.

When Mrs. Bowen learned that the City of New York was planning to open a community-based mental health facility in Harlem without input from community members, she partnered with the late William F. Hatcher to bring the community and elected representatives together to establish the non-profit organization that would become the Upper Manhattan Mental Health Center, Inc., later renamed the Emma L. Bowen Community Service Center, after her passing in 1996.

Emma L. Bowen Community Leadership Award

The Emma L. Bowen Community Leadership Award is presented to individuals and organizations whose dedication to their community has been invaluable. Recipients lead by example and work toward the betterment of their communities. Previous honorees include Olympic trailblazer Harlem’s Wendy Hilliard, healthcare equity advocate Dr. Uché Blackstock, and Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine.

The Emma L. Bowen Community Service Center

The Emma L. Bowen Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit community-based organization established in 1986 and licensed by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, New York State Office of Mental Health, NYS Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS), and New York State Department of Education. bowencsc.org

Photo credit: 1) Patricia C. Jordan, Charlamagne Tha God, Yumi Rodriguez, Bowen Center client, and Doni Holloway, Master of Ceremonies. 2) Patricia C. Jordan, Bowen Center Board Chair, Lawrence Fowler, Bowen Center Deputy Executive Director and Wanda Matos, Community Leadership Award Honoree. 3) (l to r) Luis Laboy and Wanda Matos, Community Leadership Award Honorees, and Charlamagne Tha God, Humanitarian Medal Honoree.

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