Community Tampa Bay Announces Silver Medallion Honorees
Karen Clay and Her Son, Michael Phillips, posthumously, The Green Book of Tampa Bay, and Mark Puskarich Are Recognized for Their Anti-Discrimination Work
May 11, 2022 (St. Petersburg, Fla.) – Each year, since 1970, Community Tampa Bay has been recognizing community leaders and advocates, who have exhibited exceptional efforts to champion diversity and advance inclusion in schools, workplaces, and the Tampa Bay community with its prestigious Silver Medallion Award.
This year, three honorees will be celebrated on Wednesday, May 25th, 6-8 pm at Tampa River Center in front of 150 event guests. The annual event, Transformations, allows each attendee to experience the transformative power of Community Tampa Bay’s work and recognize community commitment to eradicating all forms of discrimination.
What: Transformations 2022
Where: Tampa River Center (402 W Laurel St, Tampa, FL 33607)
When: Wednesday, May 25th, 6-8 pm
This year’s honorees include:
Karen Clay, and her son, Michael Phillips (posthumously) the steadfast disability advocates who changed the landscape of disability rights in the Tampa Bay community and beyond. Michael has lived a life of personal and community advocacy to make a more inclusive world for people with disabilities. Through his blog and nation-wide news coverage, he raised attention and pushed for change for all people with disabilities, using his personal story, as an individual who had spinal muscular atrophy, which has severely limited his ability to move since birth. For almost 40 years, Karen Clay advocated for her son Michael and traversed the broken health care system, advocating for better health care, better Medicaid coverage, and inclusive education.
Karen Clay and Michael Phillips, Long-Time Disability Rights Advocates
The Green Book of Tampa Bay was founded by two great friends, Hillary Van Dyke and Joshua Bean, who shared passion for social activism and were looking for ways to revitalize Black-owned businesses in our community. What started off as a passion project turned into a vital business directory to uplift and promote Black-owned businesses, Black artists, as well as historical and cultural sites. The creative usage of Victor Hugo Green’s Negro Motorist Green Book provides a deeper understanding of the injustices Blacks experienced during the Jim Crow era of segregation.
Joshua Bean and Hillary Van Dyke with The Green Book of Tampa Bay Uplift Black-Owned Businesses
Mark Puskarich lives Community Tampa Bay’s vision of a community free from all forms of discrimination by ferociously advocating for the LGBTQ community through his work at Equality Florida as Director of Development as well as Youth Counselor at The Trevor Project. His commitment to anti-discrimination work and advancement of inclusion is recognized with The Silver Medallion Award with Kerry Afflitto distinction for his extraordinary service to Community Tampa Bay.
Mark Puskarich, LGBTQ and Anti-Bullying Advocate
“With so much negativity and uncertainty in the world, we feel truly honored to celebrate people who work tirelessly towards the betterment of people who have been discriminated against, mirroring Community Tampa Bay’s mission of creating an inclusive community, where everybody feels a sense of belonging,” said Tammy Briant Spratling, CEO, Community Tampa Bay.
“This year’s Silver Medallion Awardees are truly remarkable, and we want to raise up the anti-discrimination work they are doing in our community,” added Briant Spratling.
About Community Tampa Bay
Community Tampa Bay is a non-profit organization that envisions a community free of all forms of discrimination in which every individual is treated with dignity and respect, with regard to their race, ethnicity, nationality, sex, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, ability, faith, and or age. Community Tampa Bay works towards the ambitious vision of cultivating inclusive leaders to change communities through dialogue and cross-cultural interactions, empowering individuals to build relationships based on understanding and mutual respect.
For more information, please visit www.communitytampabay.org.