Posted by Arab American Institute on April 01, 2018 in Blog
Thursday, April 26, 2018
1331 Pennsylvania Ave, NW | Washington, D.C.
5:30 Reception | 6:30 Gala
For Senator Black, it is clear that music and public service serve similar purposes—visible outlets to remind people that they are never alone and that they have a champion who intimately understands their struggles. Having begun as a front woman for one of Ireland’s most celebrated contemporary music bands, The Black Family, her soulful voice catapulted her to a successful solo career, earning her the Recorded Music Association’s Best Irish Female Artist Award twice. Battling alcoholism throughout her early 20s, she used her platform as a musician to peel back the shame often associated with substance abuse and encouraged an open, honest conversation on the pervasive issue in Ireland. Recognizing that she had the tools to help others through similar journeys, she returned to university in 2004 to become an addiction counselor and guide countless others through their own fight. Knowing firsthand how the impact of addiction can reverberate across families and communities, Senator Black established the Recovery In a Safe Environment (RISE) Foundation to create an invaluable network of resources and support for those whose loved ones are battling the disease.
Realizing the need to do more, Senator Black was nominated by the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland for a seat in the Senate in 2016—and won. In her new position, she continues advocating for more comprehensive public health policies while also taking on new challenges such as fighting for migrant rights. She has worked tirelessly to reach across the aisle and garner support for critical legislation such as expanded protections for victims of domestic violence.
Senator Black’s work serves as a model of all that public servants can achieve when they are fearless and unwavering advocates who seek to better their communities and the lives of others. In receiving the Award for Individual Achievement, Senator black joins a distinguished group of individuals, including Senator George Mitchell, Salma Hayek Pinault, Muhammad Ali, and Mayor Richard M. Daley.
Senator Black will accept her award alongside fellow awardees José Andrés & World Central Kitchen, former U.S. Ambassador to the UAE Marcelle M. Wahba, and the American Civil Liberties Union at AAIF’s 20th annual Kahlil Gibran “Spirit of Humanity” Awards Gala. We hope you will join us too.