The Office for Diversity and Community Partnership at Harvard Medical School (HMS), together with HMS teaching affiliate Cambridge Health Alliance, bestowed the inaugural Ruth M. Batson Social Justice Award on Tuesday (April 10) at the School’s New Research Building during the Reflection in Action: Building Healthy Communities event. The new award — given through the School’s Office for Diversity and Community Partnership — is named for one of Boston’s key figures in education, health care, and civil rights. The first black woman on the Democratic National Committee and the first woman elected president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored Peoples’ New England Regional Conference, Batson was a longtime champion of educational equality.
Each year, a Ruth M. Batson Social Justice Award will be given to individuals whose actions exemplify a commitment to social justice, civic engagement, the building of community, and the furthering of equity. The first Ruth M. Batson Social Justice Award was given to her daughter, director, actress, and writer Susan Batson, at the daylong celebration. Several hundred inner-city school children attended the event, which was marked by the award presentation and student performances that explored ways in which individual actions can help build healthy communities.