FUMO RECEIVES BíNAI BíRITHíS ĎGREAT AMERICAN TRADITIONSí AWARD
PHILADELPHIA, October 24, 2002 Ė The Liberty Region of Bínai Bírith today honored state Senator Vincent J. Fumo (D-Philadelphia) with its annual Great American Traditions Award.
The award recognizes humanitarians or organizations who have contributed to the betterment of Americaís rich culture through the development of diversity in communities. Regional chapters of Bínai Bírith throughout the country present the award to someone in their community each year.
The Jewish human rights organization said it selected Fumo for his enlightened leadership, commitment to excellence and devotion to the welfare of his community and all our nationís citizens.
"Receiving this award from an esteemed organization such as Bínai Bírith is very humbling. When I consider the purpose of this award, and when I consider all that Bínai Bírith stands for, I am very gratified to have been chosen," Fumo said.
The senator, a Catholic of Italian and Irish descent, noted to the awards-dinner audience of about 175 people at the Sheraton Society Hill that his own ethnic and religious groups at times faced discrimination and bigotry in America.
"But the fact that I can stand here before you today, and the fact that you can select someone of my background, speaks well of Bínai Bírithís dedication to diversity.
"I hope it also helps us, first, to appreciate the remarkable opportunities that exist here in America for people of all races and ethnic groups, and second, to remember that we must be ever-vigilant in protecting the rights of all people," he said.
Bínai Bírith, founded 159 years ago in New York, defends Jewish interests worldwide. It is respected as one of the worldís largest Jewish human rights, community action and humanitarian organizations. The Liberty Region comprises Southeastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey, and Northern Delaware.
Fumo, 59, has represented a portion of Philadelphia in the state Senate since 1978. For the past 18 years, he has served as the Democratic chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. In that position, he has attempted to assist the more vulnerable members of society, largely by securing increased state aid for victims of urban poverty, the child welfare system, the homeless and unemployed, public education, those in need of medical care, and others.
October 24 is also United Nationís Day. The guest speaker for the event was Dina Siegel Vann, Bínai Bírith Internationalís Director for United Nations Affairs.
Proceeds of the dinner in Fumoís honor will benefit Bínai Bírithís worldwide efforts of defending human rights, combating bigotry and ignorance, and providing service to communities by alleviating the wants of the poor and needy. Those programs include worldwide humanitarian assistance, youth programs, and housing initiatives for senior citizens of all faiths and backgrounds.