The New Haven Board of Aldermen Black and Hispanic Caucus attracted nearly 200 appreciative citizens, aldermen, and other city officials Friday night to Anthony’s Ocean View restaurant for its second annual awards ceremony.
The 21-member group, which represents more than two-thirds of the Board of Aldermen, gave out honors to two former officials and one advocacy and research organization. The aim was also of course to use the occasion to raise a pot of money to give as scholarship funds and other grants to grassroots organizations in need.
Beaver Hills Alderwoman Claudette Robinson-Thorpe said the goal was to raise $20,000 this year.
Last year the caucus’s gala raised $30,000.
Because of the election and people being more strapped for funds, Robinson-Thorpe said, organizers set a more modest goal in 2013.
The 2012 small grants went to beneficiaries ranging from senior centers to basketball teams to a range of scholarship funds. This year oney will be available for “youth, the elderly, and other institutions,” she added.
The caucus presented to one of its own, two-time former Board of Aldermen President Tomas Reyes, its Heritage Award. Speakers said Reyes was so generous with his time, sat on so many organizations, that all of New Haven claimed him for its own.
The Pioneer Award went to recently retired schools chief Reggie Mayo. He was hailed for helming current school reform initiatives.
The Community Award went to the Connecticut Center for a New Economy for its research and advocacy efforts on behalf of working families in the state’s urban centers. The labor-backed group, affiliated with Yale’s unions, helped elect a majority to the Board of Aldermen this past term.
Reyes, who left the aldermanic chamber sin 1998, said he was overjoyed at the recognition.
“It’s particularly gratifying to have the respect of people I don’t even know. I must have done something right,” he said.
Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman was on hand to offer official statewide kudos. Featured speaker Yale University Police Chief Ronnell Higgins praised the awardees because “those of us in service matter.”
“What we say matters less than what we do,” he added.