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Mayor Greg Fischer Newsroom

Abramson Honors Local Organizations for Contributions to Multicultural Community

Thursday July 21, 2005

Mayor Jerry Abramson today recognized four local organizations and Helen Lang, of the Crane House, for their outstanding contributions to Louisville’s multicultural community through leadership, education, community relations and workforce diversity.

Catholic Charities of Louisville, Family Health Centers, Inc., Louisville Metro Police Department and National City Bank’s Iroquois Branch were honored at an evening ceremony at the Frazier Historical Arms Museum.

Helen Lang received the first-ever Mayor’s International Award for Lifetime Achievement for her long-time leadership and volunteer work with Crane House, The Asia Institute.

“We’re proud to honor these individuals and organizations that have made Louisville a welcoming place for new immigrants and our international community,” Abramson said. “These organizations help our new neighbors feel more at home and they teach our community about the diversity of cultures that exist in our hometown.”

The Mayor’s International Awards are coordinated by the Louisville Metro Office for International Affairs (OIA). An independent panel of five individuals with knowledge of and experience with Louisville Metro’s international communities selected the recipients from a pool of nearly 100 nominations.
The Louisville Metro Office for International Affairs is dedicated to supporting and promoting a vibrant, successful multicultural Louisville Metro community through referral, awareness and advocacy. The agency focuses on economic and workforce development, immigration, social services, language assistance, youth development and international protocol.
For information about the Mayor’s International Awards, contact:
Omar Ayyash
Director of the Office for International Affairs Phone:502-574-1443
Email: Omar Ayyash

Recipients of the 2005 Mayor’s International Awards

Catholic Charities of Louisville, Inc. helps refugee clients achieve self-sufficiency in Louisville and around Kentucky. The agency has resettled approximately 11,500 refugees and other entrants from dozens of countries since 1975. They teach basic skills and offer a variety of services, such as immigration assistance, to help clients succeed in the United States. They have also promoted a diverse workforce by hiring several foreign-born and bilingual staff.

Family Health Centers, Inc. addresses the unique health, social and cultural needs of residents from Louisville’s rapidly growing international community by providing primary and preventative health care services. Efforts to increase access for non-English speaking patients have included posting multi-language posters and directional signage, utilizing face-to-face and telephone interpreter services, and offering ongoing language and diversity training for staff. They have also promoted a diverse workforce by hiring several foreign-trained and bilingual medical staff.
Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) promotes communication, respect and positive relationships with the international community. Their Community Relations Unit has empowered residents within multicultural areas by developing neighborhood watches and teaching public safety issues. LMPD has also created special Citizens Police Academies for international groups to let civilians experience the day-to-day life of police officers. To further show their interest in working with the international community, LMPD provides Spanish language classes for officers, including immersion courses in Mexico.

National City Bank’s Iroquois Branch strives to provide a banking environment that embraces Louisville’s international community. They provide many general brochures in Spanish, and specialty brochures in Arabic and Vietnamese. Five of the ten employees at Iroquois are natives of Cuba, Bosnia, and Vietnam. They are able to converse with customers in Spanish, Russian, German, French, Vietnamese and Bosnian. The manager is a board member of the Americana Community Center. Staff members also volunteer at Kentucky Refugee Ministries, teaching United States banking fundamentals. The Mayor’s International Award for Lifetime Achievement Helen Lang founded Crane House in 1986 as a Chinese cultural center. In 1997, Crane House became an Asian cultural center, with the mission of promoting cultural understanding among the peoples of the United States and Asia. For over 20 years Helen has been involved in Louisville’s international community, lending support and advising numerous non-profit organizations. She is a strong advocate for multicultural education, both within schools and the business community and is the first person to receive the Mayor’s International Lifetime Achievement Award.

Recipients of the 2004 Mayor’s International Awards

Kentucky Refugee Ministries
The Louisville Free Public Library