Springfield community members recognized at social justice award ceremony

More than 540 people attended the event

AGAWAM, Mass. (WWLP) – More than 540 people packed Chez Josef in Agawam on Saturday, for the Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services first social justice award ceremony.

Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services Director Ronn Johnson told 22News, his agency helps a large portion of the Springfield community. “We serve over 750 people each day who have various needs, and today represents an opportunity for the community to come together as we celebrate the goodness of other people,” he said.

22News’ own Sy Becker emceed the ceremony, along with the Reverend Dr. Barbara Headley, of the Zion Community Baptist Church.

22News spoke with some of the award recipients. Dr. Andrew Balder of the Mason Square Health Center told 22News, “I think it recognizes what we do day to day, we also have an opportunity to make a difference to many people as a whole.”

Waleska-Lugo De Jesus of the Healing Racism Institute told 22News, “Getting the award in race relations makes me very proud of the work we do behind the scenes, not expecting recognition, but knowing we are making a difference with our kids.”

Ronn Johnson told 22News he wants to make the award ceremony an annual event, to honor the men and women who work to improve the quality of life in Springfield.