Long-time community organizer Evelyn J. Clarke received one of the New York State Senate’s highest honors, the Woman of Distinction Award, on Sunday, September 19, from State Senator Michele Hinchey , D-Saugerties.
The award was presented in recognition of his work and years of service on behalf of residents of Ulster County and the Hudson Valley. The Senate’s annual recognition celebrates individuals who serve as leaders in their communities and demonstrate outstanding character. Hinchey presented the award to Clarke in front of community members and parishioners at the New Progressive Baptist Church in Kingston, where Clarke is associate minister and director of Christian education.
“Every community needs an Evelyn Clarke,” Hinchey said, according to a press release. in the lives of those around him. She is a woman deeply committed to standing up for what is right and just in the world; a woman whose powerful presence unites people and entire communities; and a woman known and respected for the “hard love” she gives – because that’s who Evelyn is, a woman of strong faith who is there to help people become their best, little does not matter what hand they have received in life.
“This is the first time that I have bestowed this Senate recognition on a resident of my district, and I could not be more proud to honor Evelyn, a beloved community leader, mentor and friend with the Woman of Distinction. of the 2021 New York State Senate. Award. “
Clarke is an integral part of the communities of Kingston and Esopus and has served the public in countless roles over the years, including as a volunteer counselor at Esther House, a safe and sober residence for women recovering from an addiction disorder. Clarke is also the former president of the Ulster County One-Stop-Shop, which offers after-school programs for youth, and has served as a night admissions counselor at the Grace Smith House for Battered Women.
In 2012, Clarke was appointed to the Ulster County Human Rights Commission and as director of the Ulster County Youth Bureau, positions she held for almost a decade before. retiring in 2018. During her tenure, Clarke focused on issues such as restorative justice and keeping Ulster County school children safe and in the classroom. Clarke worked closely with the Kingston Board of Education to facilitate the overhaul of the district’s disciplinary codes. She continues her work as a member of the Restorative Justice Community Empowerment Task Force and the Woodstock Family Board of Directors.