It’s that time of year again: The Red Bandana Committee seeks nominations for the Red Bandana Award, given annually to a Rhode Islander who embodies the spirit and committed work of longtime activist Richard Walton.
Walton, who died in 2013, was a longtime journalist, author and social activist who dedicated his life to working for peace and social justice. He was a passionate man who embraced life in all of its contradictions, loved music, sports, politics, journalism and served as a mentor to generations of Rhode Islanders who try every day to make our state, nation and world better places.
A colorful, witty man, Walton was known for the trademark red bandana he wore to parties, protests, musical events and his annual June gathering at his home in Pawtuxet Village overlooking Narragansett Bay.
``Richard was a sort of mentor to Rhode Island activists working hard every day to build a better community for us all,’’ said Bill Harley, musician and close Walton friend. ``This award continues that tradition. We’re looking for those unsung heroes that, despite all the challenges, speak up and get involved in order to make a difference.’’
The award was created after the death of Walton, a Brown University graduate who was also a longtime adjunct professor at Rhode Island College and was a leader of the adjunct teaching union.
This award was presented to Amos House in 2013, a place that was dear to Walton’s big heart. He was a longtime volunteer and board member at Amos House.
In 2014, the award was shared by Henry Shelton, a stalwart advocate for the poor and disenfranchised, and the Providence Student Union, a youth-led student organizing program that works to make sure that public school students have a say in their education.
``Last year’s recognition from the Red Bandana Fund meant a lot to the staff and youth leaders of our organization,’’ said Zack Mezera, director of the PSU.
To submit a nomination, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The deadline for nominations is April 15, according to Stephen Graham, another close Walton friend. The celebration of the ward will be held this year on May 31st at Nick-a-Nees in Providence's Jewelry District.