Mavs CEO will receive Hope for Humanity Award
By Deb Silverthorn
The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum (DHHRM) takes its annual Hope for Humanity event to full court press this year, celebrating treasured survivors and honoring community Upstander, Dallas Mavericks CEO Cynt Marshall. The event on Thursday, Oct. 13, will begin with cocktails at 6 p.m.; dinner at 7 p.m.; and the program, in-person at the Fairmont Hotel and online with a link provided with a donation, beginning at 8 p.m.
“The Museum’s primary goal is to positively influence behavior through education, and the support we receive at Hope for Humanity allows us to continue that mission,” said Mary Pat Higgins, DHHRM president and CEO. “This year, we are proud to honor Cynt, who has been a dynamic force for inclusion and diversity both within the Mavericks organization and the greater Dallas community.”
Co-chairing the evening are Cristina Barbosa and her husband and former Texas Rangers infielder, Michael Young. Four years ago the couple connected with the DHHRM. Soon after, they were intrigued by, and committed to, supporting it.
“It took five minutes with [then board president] Frank Risch, and then not even as many with the dear Max Glauben [of blessed memory] and a gem and light personified, to feel the passion of this very special space and place,” said Barbosa. She is now a member of the DHHRM board.
“We’re constantly engaged and impressed by every exhibit, every opportunity that comes to the Museum, and we’re honored to chair the Hope for Humanity dinner and to share the Museum with as wide an audience as possible,” Barbosa added.
The evening will feature an original Museum-produced educational mission video about the Kindertransport, told through the testimonies of siblings Magie Furst and Bert Romberg. Both residents of The Legacy Midtown Park, they have dedicated much of their lives to share their stories with students and the community.
When guests visit the 55,000-square-foot Museum, it is the firsthand accounts of Furst and Romberg and those of thousands more — from myriad walks of life — that impact them at every turn.
The Romberg children were born in Astheim, Germany, she in 1929 and he in 1930. In 1938, after their father died of a heart attack when they were just 3 and 4, their mother Sida — of blessed memory — made arrangements for the family to escape to England. She obtained a visa for herself, and secured spots for her children on the Kindertransport, a rescue mission that brought nearly 10,000 Jewish children from Nazi-controlled Europe to safety in Great Britain.
Walking her own challenges through life, her spirit strong and intentional, is Cynt Marshall, born in Birmingham, Alabama. She explained that she and her five siblings were raised in the projects of Richmond, California, with a math book in one hand and the Bible in the other.
The fourth of sixth children born to Carolyn Gardner and the late William Smith, Marshall said the lessons and depth of meaning of the civil rights movement, the Holocaust and many other “moments” of history and how people were treated, were always spoken of in her home.
She has passed on those lessons, and the lesson of teaching, preaching and practicing treating all people with respect, to the family that she and her husband Kenny have built. The couple met while they were high school participants in DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America). They are the parents of Alicia, Shirley, Kenneth Anthony and Rickey, each of whom lives a life of purpose.
“Humanity is bigger than any one people and, living as Upstanders, we need to foster that throughout the world,” said Marshall. “The mission of the Museum, its dedication to teaching the history of the Holocaust and to advancing human rights to combat prejudice, hatred and indifference is something we must all be committed to in our own lives — respecting all those we pass in this life.”
Marshall’s understanding of — and absolute respect of — others, has defined her career. Her path has included serving as the first Black female president of her graduating class at John F. Kennedy High School in Richmond, California; earning degrees in business administration and human resources management at University of California, Berkeley; the founding of Marshalling Resources Consulting; serving as one of the first Black officers at AT&T; and, since 2018, being the Dallas Mavericks’ CEO and the first Black woman CEO in the NBA.
She accepts being honored by the DHHRM with absolute grace and dear regard, as at almost every stop Marshall has made inclusion, diversity and equity in the workplace — in every space — her priority. In April, she took members of the Mavericks’ staff on a tour of South Dallas, and then to the Museum, both with a focus on education and insight — of introduction to a greater sense of community.
“The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum is focused on human rights: diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Marshall. “We are all called on to be Upstanders, a title shared by the Museum for the example I’ve always believed, and I hope I’ve lived.
“We are Divinely chosen to encounter whatever challenges come to us in life and I absolutely believe we are also equipped to deal with those based on the prior experiences we have in life,” she said.
The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum shares the challenges of many with thousands of guests each year and, through the pandemic, hundreds of thousands online. Its leadership, faculty and guests work through whatever the moment may bring, taking heed of the lessons of the stories within its walls.
“I tell my children I hope my headstone — many, many years from now — will read ‘She left this place a better world,’” said Marshall. “That too is the lesson of the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum — that we all be Upstanders spreading that so important ideal throughout the world.”
For more details, or to RSVP for in-person or online participation in the 2022 Hope for Humanity dinner, visit dhhrm.org/hope.