CNY RISE Center held its 17th Annual Friendship Dinner on Thursday, November 10, 2022, after three years of unprecedented covid time we experienced. The particular topic for this year was "I-81 Project: Highway to Social Justice". The CNY Rise Center and the City of Syracuse co-organized the event. It was an honor to have our keynote speaker, Mayor Ben Walsh for the night.
The event started with a welcome speech Board President of CNY RISE Center, Tim Saka. He quoted from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), "Whosoever of you sees an evil (injustice), let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then, let him change it with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart." To introduce our CNY RISE Center services, our multimedia presentation was shared with our guests. Then, a traditional Turkish Dinner was served while listening to a live performance from Lisa and Dan Miller. Prof. Lisa Miller is the chair of the Music Department at Onondaga Community College.
We had a series of exceptional speakers share their passion for not repeating the injustices of the past. For closing remarks, it was an honor to have Assemblywoman Pamela Hunter, Senator Dr. Rachel May, OCC President Dr. Warren Hilton, Common Councilor Joseph Driscoll, and Scott Butler from the NYS Department of Transportation.
CNY RISE Center recognized exceptional community leaders with the "Community Service Award." This year, Mayor Ben Walsh; Aggie Lane; Emmanuel Henderson; Dekah Dancil, Urban Jobs Task Force; Lanessa Owens-Chaplin, and NY Civil Liberties Union were awarded for their leadership regarding the I-81 Project. Our guests had a warm conversation at the end of the night, and everyone received a small gift bag on the way to the exit.