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September 1, 2014, 7:43 am

Lawmaker, former union leader honored

U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah and Laborers’ Local 332 former head Samuel Staten Sr. were honored with the inaugural “Moving Mountains Award” recently.

The gala was held at the African American Museum in Philadelphia in Center City on Thursday, April 5. The event was sponsored by the Leon H. Sullivan Charitable Trust and the museum.

Among those on hand for the inauguration of the “Moving Mountain” honor were Mayor Michael Nutter, former Mayor W. Wilson Goode, Sr. and state Rep. Dwight Evans.

The entertainment highlights included vocal selections sung by University of the Arts student Nicholas Trawick, a member of Zion Baptist Church, and the Universal African Dance Ensemble. Radio One executive E. Steven Collins served as master of ceremony.

“Both Sam Staten and Chaka Fattah did what they did because of visionaries like Rev. Sullivan,” Evans said. “What he did with building Progress Plaza in North Philadelphia served as a model for what we later did with the Ogontz Plaza. I can say that I learned from him.

“Being someone who grew up in North Philadelphia and now represents Northwest Philadelphia I was influenced by Rev. Sullivan,” he added. “He was an inspiration for me, and I am sure he was also an inspiration for Sam Staten and Chaka Fattah.”

Sullivan Charitable Trust board chair Mable Ellis Welborn was excited that Sullivan’s legacy was being highlighted. She noted “Sullivan Movement” began in 1966 and spread to neighborhoods like those in Northwest Philadelphia as well as around the country and abroad.

“This is all about economic empowerment for African Americans and all people of color around the globe,” Welborn said. “What Sullivan built here is now a model for the world. We have to remember this model because this is what is going to make a difference in this city and the world despite the economic times.”

“Moving Mountains” is the last book Sullivan wrote before he passed on April 24, 2001. The Leon H. Sullivan Foundation named the new award after that publication, according to Welborn.

The first recipients were chosen because “they have exhibited selfless and courageous leadership in furthering the causes espoused by Rev. Sullivan, and we are grateful for their generosity and service,” Welborn said.