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MTA to Dole out Awards for Human and Civil Rights Tonight

April 30, 2009

Tonight won't be just any night in Boston: it will be an evening filled with honors for three Massachusetts community activists who have shown leadership and courage and have been champions for civil and human rights. The Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA) will present awards to the three at their Annual Human and Civil Rights Awards Dinner.

Honorees include Horace Seldon, for his civil rights work; Alan Jacobsen for advocating for children; and Jackie Coogan for her work with children and health care. Coogan is a retired sixth grade teacher and president and founder of the in Everett, near Boston.

Dr. Erik Champy, a member of the MTA's Human Relations Committee as well as a high school guidance counselor and visiting professor at Salem State College, explains why he nominated Jackie Coogan for the Creative Leadership in Human Rights Award.

"Jackie Coogan is an inspiration to me. She is a humanitarian, an educator, a feminist, a leader. She steps up to the plate each and every time to really be the voice for those families and students who really need a champion."

Coogan taught for 24 years. Her non-profit agency is committed to providing guidance to people in need.

She says she is deeply honored to receive this award and that her work with children over the years has been extremely satisfying.

"The children, the youth and teens are our most precious resource. They really are the future leaders and, with all that we give to them and teach them, we always have to make sure that we prepare them for that."

The 26th Annual Human and Civil Rights Awards Dinner is being held tonight at the Sheraton in Boston and is the opening event for the MTA's annual meeting, which will be held in the Hynes Auditorium on May 1 and 2.

More information is at: massteacher.org

Monique Coppola, Public News Service - MA