New Community founder and board chairman Monsignor William J. Linder was presented with a lifetime achievement award by the Nubian Cultural Center and Unity Missionary Investors for his decades of service to inner city residents.
For Henry Rawls, founder of the Nubian Cultural Center, conferring the Gus Heningburg Lifetime Achievement Award on Monsignor was a particularly special occasion. Rawls’ ties to Queen of Angels parish, where Monsignor started off as a young priest, stretch multiple family generations. In 1969, Rawls said he worked as a seminarian at the parish under Monsignor and other leaders. He recalls the seeds of community development that Monsignor planted there and the beginning stages of New Community’s formation.
“This was the time in which New Community was being organized and great attempts were being made throughout the City to stabilize the black community and provide critical services for its survival and ultimate growth,” Rawls said. “Bill Linder was and is the glue that put it all together for thousands of people, fostering dreams where there were none and building hope from ashes. He’s truly one of the great men of Newark,” he said.
Monsignor said he deeply appreciated the honor. “I thank the Nubian Cultural Center and Unity Missionary Investors for this award and applaud you for your own advocacy work,” he said.
The Nubian Cultural Center and its sister organization, Unity Missionary Investors, honored Monsignor at their annual Chasing Stars Gala. The elegant evening affair took place at Gallaghers Steakhouse in New York where Frances Teabout, NCC Director of Mission, accepted the award on Monsignor’s behalf.
Named in memory of another towering figure in Newark’s history, the Gus Heningburg Lifetime Achievement Award was bestowed upon Monsignor for his work empowering “communities by example and selfless contributions,” according to the Nubian Cultural Center.
The gala was a fundraiser hosted by the two organizations to benefit the Anthony Fund, a program of the Unity Missionary Investors that provides advocacy for young minority men who suffer from traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and helps fund medical programs that seek to understand and reduce the instances of TBI. Dr. Teena Shetty, a neurologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, delivered a keynote speech on the importance of treating head injuries, particularly among youth contact sports, as serious injuries.
Four other honorees received the Nubian Union Legend Award for expertise and service to the community: David Ushery, NBC news anchor, Shirell Gross, an attorney, Terrence McKnight, WQXR Radio Musicologist and evening host, and Stephen Powell, Executive Director of Mentoring USA.