Daily News

Springfield Museums Announces Ubora, Ahadi Award Winners

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Museums announced the winners of the 29th Ubora and 11th Ahadi award winners: state Rep. Bud Williams and Kareem Wedderburn. The award ceremony will be held virtually on Saturday, Nov. 14 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The cost is $25 per household. To register, click here or call (413) 263-6800, ext. 325.

The awards are conferred each year by the African Hall subcommittee to African-American people from Greater Springfield who have demonstrated significant commitment to community service, education, science, humanities and/or the arts. The Ubora Award recognizes an adult of African heritage who exemplifies excellence in their commitment to creating a better community through service. The Ahadi Youth Award is presented to a young African-American who excels in academics and performs admirable service to the Greater Springfield community.

First elected to Springfield City Council in 1993, Williams, the Ubora Award winner, is also a member of the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus.

“His fight to keep banking services in our community has been a true blessing to the entire community. Mr. Williams works hard to make Springfield a safe and good community for all of us living in the city. He is an advocate with a heart of gold,” said nominator Mary Moore.

Williams was instrumental in stopping TD Bank from closing the Mason Square bank branch — a closure that would have negatively impacted poor and underserved residents, particularly senior patrons. “He is a champion for justice,” said nominator Mary Worthy.

Williams’s fight to address the injustices of subpar housing and support for displaced residents of Bergen Circle housing complex is another example of his work on behalf of the community. He assisted the elderly, provided transportation, and made certain that residents were treated with dignity as they sought out shelter and other services. “Bud works tirelessly on behalf of the entire Springfield community as he addresses issues that may negatively affect the health of the community. He is unafraid to speak out in the face of adversity for the betterment of the community at large,” said nominator Robert Cee Jackson.

Wedderburn was nominated by John Szymczyk, a counselor at Springfield Central High School. One of seven close-knit siblings raised by their mother, Wedderburn challenged himself throughout his high-school career with advanced-placement course work, leadership in school theater productions, and a pivotal Upward Bound (UB) program in social justice. Upward Bound’s mission is to enable first-generation and low-income students to succeed in high school and enroll in college. The program also has a significant social-justice element.

“UB’s social-justice program has allowed me to have productive dialogue on a variety of current issues, developed me as an activist, and in general made me more aware of the struggles that black people and other oppressed groups face,” he said.

Wedderburn became passionate about public transit when he started taking the PVTA to school every day. Since then he has studied, written about, and photographed transit as a hobby, and has also made it his career focus. Currently, he is a freshman at Westfield State University, majoring in regional planning.