Cincinnati Day or #513Day, whatever you call it, is a holiday all about sharing a moment of civic pride and coming together to rep our city.
It’s one of People’s Liberty’s favorite holidays; and as this will be our final year, it felt right to kick up the May 13th celebrations a notch.
So what’d we do? Tasked our People’s Liberty’s family with nominating a special person in the city, partnered with the Cincinnati Development Fund to coordinate gifts of $1,000 for each nominee, and opened up our space for an evening of celebration and camaraderie.
Oh, and it was all a surprise.
Finding the City’s Unsung Heroes:
We put a call out to our incredible People’s liberty alumni community with a simple request:
In honor of Cincinnati Day (5.13) – a day to celebrate Cincinnati and her people – please nominate ONE special person who deserves celebration and recognition for what they do in the community. We are specifically looking for people who are largely unheralded, who may avoid the spotlight, who make a difference day after day without seeking acknowledgement or celebrity. And people not already in the PL family.
You will need to personally invite that person to join you. We’re creating a VERY special way to recognize these deserving individuals, giving them honorary entry into the People’s Liberty family.
The rest was kept a secret from both nominators and nominees.
The Big Reveal:
With a full room packed with new friends and nervous energy, Eric stood at the front of the room and announced, “Each and every person nominated today is receiving a $1,000* check as a thank you for simply being you.”
One by one, our People Liberty family came to the front of the room, introduced their nominee, shared why they chose to celebrate them, and had the honor of handing them a check.
It. Was. Magical.
We were so honored to be able to provide this gift of gratitude and to share with you some of the unsung stories that we heard that afternoon.
THANK YOU AGAIN to the people who make this city great.
(*Another big thanks to Cincinnati Development Fund for partnering with us on this project. People's Liberty was the convener of this crazy celebration, but not the funder.)
Finally and Most Importantly, The Nominees:
“When I was trying to think of someone who serves their community without seeking recognition, I thought of Larry Fogle, or "Mr. Larry," as he's known at the Peaslee Neighborhood Center. Most of my conversations with Mr. Larry are about whether the air conditioning is on, if the doors are locked, or the windows are closed, because he is the "Master of Custodial Arts" at Peaslee, a title that he lives into with tremendous care, courtesy, and pride in his work. Peaslee sees hundreds of kids and adults come through its doors each week, and Larry's quiet, cheerful work reaches them all, and we're all grateful for his presence. “ - Project Grantee Rebecca Smithorn
“I nominated Courtney Alexander because he immediately engaged me through his warmth and desire to give young people an opportunity to develop an understanding of the food they eat and it’s preparation.” - Project Grantee Geralyn Sparough
“I nominated Janice Crago. Janice saved a life by selflessly donating a kidney and shared her story. Not only that, she set up a platform to allow other donors to share their stories and encourage more people to donate themselves.” - Paisley Stone, former People's Liberty Design Resident
“I have had the opportunity to encounter many leaders, but not many can and will admit what they have built was wrong. Then, do their best to change it and be transformative. That not only speaks to Tim Vogt as a leader but it speaks to him as a person. His focus on inclusion is evident in how he treats others. I have been so privileged to learn so much from him. It is truly an honor to acknowledge him today.” - Project Grantee Amber Kelly
“I nominated Mary Maune because she empowers women. Through her work in College Hill to her involvement in organizations like Portaluca she is a fierce community advocate for women and minority owned businesses - and while she is an incredible force- her efforts often go unnoticed. “ - Project Grantee Christa Hyson
“Michael is a community member and gardener in Madisonville. He is passionate about sharing his love for gardening and food with everyone he meets. He has been hosting "pop up potlucks" in various locations in Madisonville and is getting his grill on wheels certified by the health dept. soon. In addition, he and his girlfriend Alicia champion the Madisonville People's Pantry Cincy.” - Project Grantee Lisa Andrews
“Not only is Carolyn Wallace one of the best–if not the best–caterers in the solar system, she donates a great deal of her time and talents through her catering to local community groups and nonprofits; she also runs the annual It's Commonly Jazz festival almost singlehandedly, and in all the time I've known her, I've never once heard her toot her own horn, so I figured I would do it for her.” - Globe Grantee John Bromels
The idea for this celebration was sparked by Eric’s admiration for West End community advocate and Q-Kidz dance team extraordinaire Marquicia Jones-Woods. Day after day, Marquicia provides a safe space and positive outlet for the neighborhood kids. She does it, without expectation of praise or recognition, because there is a need and she cares.
The Full People’s Prize Nominee List:
Mary Maune, nominated by Christa Hyson
KaRon Lehman, nominated by Quiera Levy Smith
Michael Morris, nominated by Lisa Andrews
Mary Adams, nominated by JP Leong
A'Rielle Gatlin, nominated by Angela White
Carmen Williams, nominated by Kate Zaiden
Amy Howton, nominated by Nicole Armstrong
Mary C. Miller, nominated by Megan Trischler
Andrea Spenny, nominated by Steph Landry
Rodney Thompson, nominated by Jake Hodesh
Margaux Roberts, nominated by Kathy Wade
Angela Pancella, nominated by Yemi Oyediran
Arynn McCandless, nominated by Julius Jenkins & Jill Cleary
Kelly Cornett, nominated by Rachelle Caplan
Courtney Alexander, nominated by Geralyn Sparough
Janice Crago, nominated by Paisley Stone
Julie Pelle, nominated by Bethany Pelle
Candace Simpson, nominated by Hannah Gregory
Jennifer Foster, nominated by Eban Taylor
Tim Vogt, nominated by Amber Kelly
Carolyn Wallace, nominated by John Bromels
Dave Rickerd, nominated by Tina Dyehouse
Sean Mullaney, nominated by Scott Holzman
Marquicia Jones, nominated by Eric Avner
Kathy Parsanko, nominated by Cassandra Clement
Larry Fogle, nominated by Rebecca Smithorn
Aseel Hasan, nominated by Melissa Aydogan
Patrick Newton, nominated by Jeremy Mosher
Check out more photos from the event on our Facebook page.