In honor of Martin Luther King, we have established the Honor the Dreamers Awards. We honor people who have worked to change the fabric of our city through love, justice, and reconciliation.
This year, the event was graciously hosted by Pastors Terry and Pamela Davis of Christ Community Church in University City, and honored the following Philadelphians:
Rev. Dr. Mayor Wilson Goode - Lifetime Achievement
Rev. Dr Wilson Goode was born the son of North Carolina Tennant Farmers in 1938. His family moved to Philadelphia where he graduated Bartram High School. After graduating college and serving as an Army Officer, he returned to Philly to become the first African American member and Chairman of the PA Public Utility Commission. He broke racial barriers again with his appointment as Managing Director for the City of Philadelphia, then became the city’s first black Mayor in 1984, and remained Mayor for 2 terms. Since then, he served as Deputy Asst. Secretary of Education under the Clinton Administration, then left that position to help organize the Amachi Program, which is now his ministry and life’s work. Amachi, Inc, is a nationally acclaimed faith-based program for mentoring children of incarcerated parents which has served more than 350,000 children in all 50 States. Rev Good is also Chairman and CEO of Self, Inc, a nonprofit corporation dedicated to serving more than 600 homeless men and women. Dr. Goode is Chairman of the Philadelphia Leadership Foundation, a Board Member and Former Chairman of Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence Region, and has served on numerous boards including the Free Library of Philadelphia, Partners for Sacred Places. Cornerstone Christian Academy, Southwest Leadership Academy Charter School, and Eastern University. At 81 years old, he is still going strong, serving “the least of these”. For all of this and more, we honor him.
Rev. Bonnie Camarda - Visionary
As Director of Partnerships for The Salvation Army in Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware since 1999, Rev. Camarda is at the heart of The Salvation Army’s initiatives to form fruitful partnerships. And, she is perpetually building relationships with individuals who seek her for spiritual guidance and hope. She has been recognized for her rare ability to reach men, and women, the elderly and children, across diverse socioeconomic and cultural lines.
Rev/ Bonnie is a non-violent activist with a rich leadership history, including a key role in preparing for the Billy Graham Crusade’s event in Philadelphia in the early ’90’s, 19 years as the Vice Chair of Nueva Esperanza, and 6 years as the Commissioner of the Philadelphia Housing Authority. She was the President of the Hispanic Clergy of Philadelphia, and Co-Chaired the Faith Leaders Advisory Task Force for Community Safety under Mayor Nutter… just to name a few.
Rev. Bonnie recently accompanied Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf to visit The Salvation Army in Puerto Rico to learn more about the long-term recovery in the wake of Hurricane Maria. She is committed to working with Puerto Rican citizens recovering from Hurricane Maria especially those that transition to Philadelphia. Bonnie is also known as a woman of vision, and practical insight, that translates into strategic action. Do not mistake her for one who is merely a wisher. No, she is a visionary who dreams a dream and then puts on her boots and gets the work done.
Rev. Vito Baldini - Servant Leader
Rev. Baldini is both a hard working leader, as well as a testimony to the restorative work of Christ. He grew up just outside of Philadelphia, but as a young adult turned to drugs and had his life nearly stripped of him by his addiction. BUT GOD… God rescued Him and Vito has spent his life serving Him ever since. He has acquired a Bachelors and Masters degree and has been serving as a Pastor in the Liberti church network since 2013. He now leads the Mercy Ministries there, and founded The Easter Outreach, which is one of the first (if not THE first) cross denominational, multi ethnic, multi congregational service events Philadelphia has ever seen, engaging over 70 congregations and other volunteers from city and suburbs, and distributing thousands of Easter ‘family meals’ annually. As the minister of Mercy Ministries in a Center City church, his focus is to actively engage homeless, addiction and other marginalized populations, personally and with the resources of Liberti church network. Though his years in ministry are comparatively few, his impact is tremendous and perpetually growing. He epitomizesÂ servant leadership, and vision turned into reality.
Councilman David Oh - Bridge Builder
Son of the founder of Philadelphia’s first Korean-American Church, Councilman David Oh is currently serving his 3rd term in City Council. He is the first Asian American elected to any office in Philadelphia, and the only military veteran currently serving on City Council. He was a Philadelphia District Attorney, but left his job to serve 4 years in the U.S. Army. So it is no surprise that he works hard to expand the rights of Vets and first responders, and fought multiple fronts for millions in funding of various first responder services. From 1992-2008, he ran a private law practice, and then merged with a larger firm, where he remained until he was elected in 2012. His commitment to bettering the lives of Philadelphians, and the economy of the city are obvious. He traveled, at his own expense, to other cities and countries, to meet with major employers about locating in Philly, held an extensive hearing to evaluate Philadelphia’s competitiveness, founded multiple task forces. You don’t have to live here long before you inevitably stumble across a free event he is hosting. Oh Chairs the Committee on Global Opportunities and the Creative/Innovative Economy. But what’s most impressive is that in a country divided by partisanship, David Oh has a reputation for ‘crossing the isle’ as a bridge builder between parties for the good of all Philadelphians.