Sustain Charlotte promotes local sustainability in a broad sense, so it's natural that the group's annual Community Sustainability Awards are divided into a broad variety of categories. The group handed out its awards for 2013 on Saturday. One of the award recipients was longtime CL "admiree," Dr. Barney Offerman, who won in the Social Equity category. I'm happy to congratulate Offerman, who in 2009 was the Creative Loafing staff pick as Local Hero in the 2009 Best of Charlotte issue.
Barney Offerman has tirelessly advanced the profile of faith-based social justice work in Charlotte over the years, working behind the scenes as organizer, adviser and inspiration for more local social-justice activists than we could count. As we wrote in 2009 for Offerman's CL award, "he is admired as much for his integrity and wit as for his organizing abilities. . . After years of labor, racial justice and literacy work in New Orleans and Mississippi, and a stint in the administration of Ohio governor Richard Celeste, Dr. Offerman moved in 1986 to Charlotte, where he was Distinguished Professor of Business and Economics at Johnson C. Smith University for 10 years. While there, he established the Lifelong Learning Center for adults returning to school. He was also one of the movers behind the establishment of Charlotte's first homeless shelter, and he either launched or gave critical support to the North Carolina death penalty moratorium movement, various labor struggles, and efforts to promote peace and immigrant rights," including a stint as director of the Charlotte diocese's Catholic Campaign for Human Development. We congratulate all the winners of Sustain Charlotte's awards, but we're particularly proud that one of our Local Heroes has another feather in his cap.
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