Mel King, Sarah-Ann Shaw, and Clementina Chery received Torch-Bearer Awards on Sun., June 12 for their contributions to their community and the nation. Each of the three revered elders of Boston’s Black community were handed a torch in Olympic relay fashion, part of the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run’s tradition of passing a Peace Torch around the world.
Mel King, now 93, was honored for his six decades as an activist, affordable housing advocate, state legislator, Boston mayoral candidate, and MIT professor. He received his award at a private ceremony at his home due to health considerations.
Sarah-Ann Shaw was recognized for being Boston’s first Black female network news anchor. Her journalism, it was noted, created positive portrayals of the Black community, countering the dominant images in mainstream media. She covered protests organized by Mel King and appeared on the PBS television program Say Brother, now known as Basic Black.
Clementina Chery was honored for founding the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute, a Dorchester-based organization she created after her 15-year-old son was killed by gang crossfire in 1993. The Institute offers support for survivors of homicide victims and activities that promote peace. Chery was also recently honored as a community hero at a Celtics playoff game.
Dorchester’s Tchintcia and John Barros played a prominent role in arranging the ceremonies.