By Ben Tinsley
DALLAS — Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings will be honored by the Dallas Holocaust Museum-Center for Education and Tolerance at its annual Hope for Humanity Award Dinner at the Fairmont Dallas at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3.
Mary Pat Higgins, president and CEO of the Dallas Holocaust Museum, said the mayor’s superlative work netted him the honor.
This includes his support of Dallas cultural institutions, his skill at bringing together government officials, businesses and academic institutions and combining these elements into a stronger, more vibrant and innovative city, she said.
“Mayor Rawlings’ leadership has led to success in curbing domestic violence, bullying, and poverty,” Higgins explained. “His support of the LGBT community and the development and growth of South Dallas speaks volumes about his commitment to diversity, equity and justice.”
The Hope for Humanity dinner is the primary annual fundraising event of the Holocaust Museum. Money raised by the dinner goes to fund the museum’s exhibits, student programs, educator conferences and other community service events.
The winner who is honored each year is typically a member of the community who specifically supports the Museum’s mission of education and tolerance. In 2014 Stan Rabin was honored as the Hope for Humanity Award recipient.
In a brief telephone interview Friday, Nov. 20, Mayor Rawlings said he is very proud to receive the award.
The mayor said he is a big fan of the effort underway to construct a new and much larger permanent Holocaust Museum facility.
A subcommittee of the museum’s board of directors is in the process of researching expansion alternatives, development plans and budgets and to execute preliminary actions toward constructing a new building.
“I think today — more than ever — we need to have places where we remember Holocaust victims,” Mayor Rawlings said. “That’s the purpose of this dinner and the importance of it is first and foremost in my mind. It’s (the new museum is) a major game changer for the City of Dallas and that’s what I care about.”
Mayor Rawlings said there is a great need for effective dialogues about race and tolerance.
Today’s national argument might be about admitting Syrian refugees into the United States. But it should always be remembered that during World War II, the same argument took place about accepting Jewish refugees, he said.
“We need to take a look at these issues through a historical perspective,” Mayor Rawlings said. “ … We have such a great Jewish community here and the city would not be what it is without the historical leaders who are Jewish.”
Former Senate Education Chairwoman Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, said the mayor is an upstander — someone who always stands up and does the right thing, even if alone.
“Whenever he (the mayor) sees an imbalance or injustice, he rises to the occasion to try and cure it,” Shapiro said. “He is the very definition of an upstander.”
Shapiro said Mayor Rawlings has taken a very specific interest in the Holocaust Museum over a number of years and has participated in many activities in the Jewish community.
“He has really shown an interest in our plans for a future facility,” she said. “He has taken a leadership role in important issues like domestic violence. He doesn’t talk the talk, he walks the walk. He is one of those individuals who really cares about people and their well-being. He is the best kind of humanitarian — he really cares about people.”
Shapiro and her husband, veteran attorney Howard Shapiro, both are dinner chairs for the event honoring Rawlings, along with Abby and Todd Williams.
The mayor — elected in June 2011 — focused his campaign on improving the quality of life in Dallas, according to his platform information.
He did this in part with Dallas ISD-related initiatives that traditionally fall outside the list of responsibility for the mayor and city council — such as adopting four southern Dallas schools located in areas prime for growth; working closely with Commit!, an education collaborative for Dallas-area schools; and being involved in both the recruitment of the new DISD superintendent and the election of new school board trustees.
The mayor is credited with a development plan for southern Dallas, taking a hands-on approach to improving education, and creating new strategies for growing the arts.
He also placed Dallas in the national and international spotlight by taking a leading role with the United States Conference of Mayors.
Mayor Rawlings and his wife, Micki, live in North Dallas. Their two children, Michelle and Gunnar, also live in Dallas.
The Dec. 3 event starts with a reception at 6 p.m., and the dinner follows at 7 p.m.
To inquire about table and ticket prices, and sponsorships, contact dmcelroy@DallasHolocaustMuseum.org.
2015 Hope for Humanity Committee Honorary Chairs
- CIC Partners/Dee Ann and Marshall Payne
- Sally and Thomas Dunning
- Nancy Ann and Ray L. Hunt
- Jennifer and Thomas Karol
- The Honorable Ron Kirk and Matrice Ellis-Kirk
- The Honorable Tom Leppert and Laura Leppert
- Debra and Clint McDonnough
- Sammye and Mike A. Myers
- Barbara and Stan Rabin
- Nicole and Justin Small
- Marianne and Roger Staubach
- Senator Royce West and Mrs. Carol West
2015 Underwriting Chair and Committee
- Elizabeth (Liza) Lee Underwriting Chair
- Evey Fagadau
- Thomas S. Halsey
- James M. Hogue
- Hylton L. Jonas
- Frank Risch
- Larry Schoenbrun
- Jim Tolbert
- Stephen Waldman