CHICAGO — Illinois Sen. Mattie Hunter, D-District 3, and author and Walgreens executive Steve Pemberton will receive Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities’ 2014 Leadership Awards at the agency’s annual luncheon on Dec. 10, according to a TASC blog published Thursday.
“By their leadership and examples, Sen. Hunter and Mr. Pemberton show us what public service looks like,” stated TASC president Pamela Rodriguez. “They are powerful advocates for children and families, and we are honored to present them with our 2014 leadership awards.”
TASC will present its 2104 Public Voice Leadership Award award to Pemberton, chief diversity officer and divisional VP for Walgreens. Pemberton spent much of his childhood as a ward of the state of Massachusetts. His memoir, "A Chance in the World: An Orphan Boy, a Mysterious Past, and How He Found a Place Called Home" describes his difficult path through foster care and determined search for family.
Pemberton’s story underscores the importance of connected and accountable systems of care, the value in programs and services that protect and support children, and the essential inclusion of opportunities to intervene with parents struggling with substance use disorders or mental illness.
“Mr. Pemberton’s painful childhood journey is one that too many children experience,” said Rodriguez, “and we share in his deep commitment to continually improve the services and systems that affect the lives of vulnerable children."
Hunter, who will receive TASC’s Justice Leadership Award, is a consistent champion for addiction treatment and fair criminal justice policies. As a state senator since 2003, she has led efforts to assure funding for addiction treatment. She also chaired the Illinois Disproportionate Justice Impact Study Commission and led its investigation of drug policies that have resulted in the over-representation of minorities in Illinois’ courts and prisons.
Most recently, Hunter secured successful passage in the General Assembly of legislation designed to expand the use of criminal justice diversion programs that connect individuals to community-based services. This bill is a step forward in enacting “No Entry” policies to reverse the flood of people with non-violent offenses entering the justice system.
“We are grateful to Sen. Hunter for her leadership in confronting tough challenges,” said Rodriguez. “Whether securing funding for human services or advocating for policies that apply justice more fairly, Sen. Hunter has been a trusted friend to the families and communities we seek to serve.”
Each year, TASC recognizes outstanding leaders who have demonstrated innovation and courage in addressing some of society’s most pervasive challenges. The agency’s 2014 luncheon will take place Wednesday, Dec. 10 at The Westin Michigan Avenue in Chicago.