Four honored for contributions to civil and human rights

Four extraordinarily talented and committed individuals were honored on June 20 at MTA’s annual Human and Civil Rights dinner at the Westin Waltham-Boston.

The event recognizes MTA members and others who have shown long-standing commitment to civil rights and human relations.

George R. Spivey, a retired educator and a member of NAACP-Cape Cod and Concerned Black Men, was the recipient of this year’s Louise Gaskins Lifetime Civil Rights Award.

Kelvin Ing and Amy Lipkind of the Cape Cod Challenger Club and Worcester educator and screenwriter Caitlin McCarthy received Kathleen Roberts Creative Leadership Awards.

MTA President Paul Toner said the event, which is hosted by the Human Relations Committee, “gives us the opportunity every year to spotlight those who lead their communities by example and make the world a better place.”

Toner acknowledged Roberts and Gaskins, both of whom were on hand for the awards ceremony, for their countless contributions to education, the MTA and to human and civil rights.

HCR winnersFrom left, Louise Gaskins, George Spivey, Caitlin McCarthy, Kathleen Roberts, Amy Lipkind and Kelvin Ing after the ceremony.

Human Relations Committee Chair Dale Forest said the four recipients this year were chosen for their efforts "to make the world more just and tolerant. Though they have contributed to society in very different ways," he said, they "share a commitment to enriching the lives of those they serve."

Spivey is a former school principal and teacher of math and history in Falmouth and the Barnstable Public Schools. He also served as the town of Falmouth’s affirmative action officer for 13 years. In January, Spivey received the Falmouth Clergy Association’s first award for human rights work and community leadership.

During his working career, he developed internships and mentoring programs promoting racial harmony and equity for all. Though retired, he still tutors young people and chairs Falmouth’s No Place for Hate Committee.

Caitlin McCarthy is an English language arts teacher at Worcester Technical High School. She served as screenwriter of the film “Wonder Drug,” which tells the story of DES — diethylstilbestrol.  Once thought to be a groundbreaking synthetic form of estrogen, DES instead became a medical disaster. Potential risks of taking the drug were found to include a rare vaginal cancer, an increase in the risk of breast cancer and testicular cancer.

McCarthy’s mother, unaware of the risks, had taken DES when she was pregnant. When McCarthy discovered in 2005 that she had been exposed to the drug in utero, she researched it and then began to educate others about DES.

In addition to writing the screenplay for the film, McCarthy obtained FDA acknowledgment of the drug’s devastating health consequences. Nominator Andrea Goldstein, another DES daughter, said McCarthy “has made selfless contributions through political action, community organizing and mentoring” and that she has “served the global DES community in a volunteer role.”

Kelvin Ing and Amy Lipkind are the founders of the Cape Cod Challenger Club, which has become a vital provider of support for parents of special needs children on Cape Cod.

The club began as the couple’s effort to integrate special needs students into the Sandwich Little League program, but it has blossomed into a year-round program serving more than 300 students. The club’s programs serve not only as a respite for parents but also as a vital networking opportunity for families and as learning opportunities — both socially and emotionally — for the students served.

The club “serves as a beacon of inspiration” to everyone associated with the program, said Kelli Donehey, a math teacher at Barnstable Intermediate School who nominated Ing and Lipkind for the award.

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