By Ling-Mei Wong
The seventh We Are Boston Gala took place Dec. 4 at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, celebrating diversity and new immigrants. More than 1,000 people attended the gala, featuring ethnic dishes, cultural performances and an awards ceremony.
“Boston is that international city that is welcoming to each and every one of us,” said Marie St. Fleur, director of intergovernmental relations for the City of Boston. She spoke for Mayor Thomas Menino, who was in rehab and unable to attend.
Two high school students were honored at the gala. Sherley Belizaire, a senior at Boston International Newcomers Academy and Yiming Yu, a senior at Charlestown High School, received the School and Youth Action Award.
Belizaire came to America at age 15 with two sisters, after losing her home in Haiti. She volunteered with Habitat for Humanity to build homes for displaced people in Washington, D.C. a few months after she came to the United States.
Yu came to America three years ago with his parents, ashamed to speak English. He found Charlestown High a “caring” community and flourished in academics and immigrant youth volunteering. Yu and his friends made a video for a White House contest and won a trip to the White House.
Along with students, two individuals and a corporation were recognized at the gala. Gary Gottlieb, President and CEO of Partners HealthCare, was named the 2012 We Are Boston Gala Leadership Awardee. Nicole Prudent, assistant professor of pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine and a primary care pediatrician at Boston Medical Center, received the New Bostonians Community Champion Award. Law firm Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo was presented with the Corporate Courage Award.
“The rainbow that is Boston continues to grow with opportunity, but we need to remember those whose burdens are different from ours,” Gottlieb said. “We need to hold each other tight for this generation and the generations that follow us.”