The Interfaith Center for Peace and Justice (ICPJ) has chosen the 2022 winners of its Peacemaker Awards. This year’s honorees are Yeimi Gagliardi, who will receive the Lifetime of Peacemaking Award, and Blessing Shahid and Alex Hayes, both of whom will receive Peacemaker of the Year Awards.
Winners will be honored at a ceremony on Monday June 13 at 7:00 p.m. in Valentine Hall Auditorium of the United Lutheran Seminary, Gettysburg. The public is invited, and refreshments will be served.
Yeimi Gagliardi, nominated by Charles Stangor and Mikel Grimm, is honored for her longtime service to the Hispanic community in Adams County. Gagliardi is Latino health educator at WellSpan Health and chairperson for the Latino Services Task Force and the Tobacco Prevention Task Force of Healthy Adams County. She is also chair of the Manos Unidas Hispanic American Center and a board member of Vida Charter School and YWCA Gettysburg & Adams County.
Gagliardi has overseen local initiatives including early childhood education, health literacy, family planning and reproductive health, addiction and recovery and access to healthcare.
F. Blessing Shahid, nominated by Jan Powers, is honored for her work locally in promoting awareness of African American history. She is the founder of the Gettysburg celebration of Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.
Shahid was instrumental in organizing the car parade for Martin Luther King Day in 2021, eliciting peaceful cooperation with the police. In 2022, during Black History Month, Shahid conducted a Black History evening once a week for four weeks at the Rec Park building, where trivia games about black history and an assortment of books and games for children were featured.
Alex Hayes, nominated by Rukhsana Rahman, stepped down in February after sixteen years at the Gettysburg Times including nine years as managing editor. His work was characterized by a dedication to local journalism and his fair and even-handed coverage of controversial issues. Hayes has been active in local community organizations, including Manos Unidas, the Rotary Club of Gettysburg, Healthy Adams County, and the St. Francis Xavier Parish Council. Hayes is now Fund Development Director for the YWCA Gettysburg & Adams County, for which he had worked part-time for fifteen years.
Covid-19 prevented ceremonies in 2020 and 2021, but any of the awardees from those years who are present will be recognized at the 2022 ceremony. The 2020 award winners were Vickie Corbett (Lifetime of Peacemaking), Chad-Alan Carr (Peacemaker of the Year), and the Gettysburg High School Amnesty International Student Group (Youth Peacemaker).
The 2021 awardees were Judy Leslie (Lifetime of Peacemaking) and Scott Hancock (Peacemaker of the Year). The late Pastor Jay Zimmerman was honored with a posthumous Lifetime of Peacemaking Award.
Each Peacemaker Award consists of a framed certificate and the donation of $250 worth of books or other materials to the Adams County Library in the honoree’s name.
ICPJ invites nominations for the 2023 Peacemaker Awards. Please send them to ICPJ at firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 3134, Gettysburg, PA 17325.
Featured image caption: Hayes, Gagliardi, and Shahid.