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Yeimi Gagliardi, Blessing Shahid, Alex Hayes to receive Peacemaker Awards

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 icpj@icpj-gettysburg.org or P.O. Box 3134, Gettysburg, PA 17325.

Featured image caption: Hayes, Gagliardi, and Shahid.

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  • Blessing F. Shahid is not only a community activist individually, but is the CEO/Founder of 2 businesses, responsible for bringing African-American Cultural activities and education to the Gettysburg area on a consistent basis for over 5 years. SHE IS NOT A “FLASH IN THE PAN”.
    The organizations Indigenous Glow, LLC and I-Glow-Black Inc., have become staples of the Gettysburg community. By working with GASD, local leaders, business owners, and local government safe family oriented community focused engagement has taken place, opening the door for new challenging conversations and initiatives to take place.

    Note: We (the organizations listed above) asked for the editing of the statement above concerning Mrs. Shahid, through a proxy, to include a more comprehensive vision of the type of work being done in her name. We also request and sent a picture of the subject’s choosing, which was not used. And in fact, was changed from the original grainy image, acquired from social media. The lack of comprehensive description of the work and the lack of adherence to attaching an image of the subject, that would be acceptable to that person speak to internalized issues with this publication and the folx considered to be “Community Contributors” in this article.

    • We did update the photo. The citation is edited from that provided by the ICPJ, which is giving the prestigious award.

      • That action is much appreciated, although, there was another submission received by G.C., with clarity on the subject no different than above. Honestly, I didn’t see any other folks in that write up or any other, with submissions about their work on the same day. Regardless of the contributor, now more than ever in this climate of the exclusion of thorough information and misinformation, publications have an obligatory responsibility to give complete information.

        We appreciate you and this publication’s willingness to make space for the diversity the world needs. We simply ask that when telling our stories, we are allowed to be the heroes of those stories without our accomplishments and work being belittled or diminished regardless of the contributor.

        Please be reassured that I will be bringing this same issue to the ICPJ, to insure going forward they apply this type of ally-ship in the manner in which those whom have been traditionally excluded want, as opposed to what they think is deserved. Clarity should be given, that these comments do not reflect the direct opinion of Mrs. Shahid, nor should they diminish the gratitude she has to receive this honor.

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