Fannie E. Floyd Racial Justice Award was established in 2009 and given periodically to a person who has made significant contributions towards the goal of racial justice and equality, a key mission of the YWCA Princeton.
As such, she is also the first recipient.
Fannie E. Floyd embodied the mission of the YWCA in eliminating racism and empowering women. She was instrumental in the integration of the colored (as it was known then) and white YWCAs, and in 1971 she served on the committee for the first YWCA forum on eliminating racism. She served on the board of directors for the YWCA for several years and up until her death in September 2008 at the age of 84, she was a strong advocate for the YWCA and its programs.
Fannie was involved in a multitude of Princeton area civic, social, charitable, and religions organizations for more than 50 years. Initially she was involved in open housing and equal education issues in the community, and later served on the board of Planned Parenthood, was a Cub Scout den mother, a Community House surrogate parent, and an active member of Churchwomen United.
Her most recent involvements included the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, the McCarter Theatre Associates Board, Princeton Nursery School, the Princeton Community Democratic Organization, and the Witherspoon/Jackson Neighborhood Association.
Fannie was a dedicated member of the Witherspoon Street Presbyterian Church as an elder, a deacon, and a member of numerous committees over the years.
In 2008 Fannie and her husband Jim were honored for their lifelong commitment to the local community by Princeton philanthropists William H. and Judith Scheide. The Scheides created an endowment in the Floyds’ name to help the University Medical Center at Princeton provide healthcare to the uninsured and underinsured.
Fannie, born in Princeton, attended the Witherspoon Street School for the Colored and Princeton High School. She earned her bachelor's degree in English from Virginia State University. When she returned to Princeton, she began her career at Educational Testing Service as a proofreader in the test production and development department. She worked at ETS for more than 20 years.
Fannie's heart and conscience guided her to help others and speak up for social justice, even when it was unpopular to do so. She always spoke her mind in a gentle way and dialogued with others on issues of racial and social justice with grace and patience. S Her simple motto was one we can all embrace: "I do things because I see a need."
Irene has had a distinguished career as an advocate for peace and human rights and a long association with the Princeton-based, Coalition for Peace Action, where she is Board Chair and NGO representative to the UN.
Irene is first generation American. She was born in Manhattan in 1943, the second of four daughters. Her parents had emigrated from Russia to Berlin as children and eventually to New York in 1940. After graduating from Douglass College in 1965, she and husband Clifford moved to Caracas, Venezuela for a year. Clifford had a position in the Venezuelan office of the budget as part of a Ford Foundation internship. Before departing for Caracas, they attended immersion Spanish language training at Cornell University where Irene finished first in her class. In Caracas, Irene worked as a substitute teacher and taught English as a Second Language. Upon returning to the US, Irene volunteered with Planned Parenthood and maintained her activity in progressive causes for social and political reform and in professional translations.
Debby is President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Association of the Mercer Area (PPAMA) and a former trustee.
She was previously the Capital Campaign Director at Isles and the Associate Director of Annual Giving at The Lawrenceville School.
From 1986-1993 she was VP, Private Banking at J.P. Morgan & Co. She has served out communities in active roles with New Jersey Policy Perspective, Mercer County Community College Foundation, and the NAACP Trenton Branch.
Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, from Zimbabwe, joined the World YWCA in 2007. She has over 10 years of experience with the United Nations, where she served as Regional Director for the United Nations Development Fund for Women in Eastern and Horn of Africa covering 13 countries. She had previously worked as a human rights officer with UNICEF in Liberia and Zimbabwe. She is a trained human rights lawyer with extensive experience in conflict resolution and mediation. Under her leadership, the World YWCA has worked on strengthening the analysis on the linkages between women’s rights, violence against women, sexual and reproductive health and HIV for effective interventions, programmes and services. Gumbonzvanda has also raised the voice of grassroots women and girls, advocating on their behalf for the implementation of key global commitments on women, young women and girls’ rights through CEDAW mechanisms, the Commission on the Status of Women, the Human Rights Council and the International Conference on Population and Development, engaging the movement and partners in these processes.
Gumbonzvanda serves on various boards of development organisations including Action Aid International, CIVICUS and Save the Children UK and the steering committees for Girls Not Brides and Women's Day Live. Gumbonzvanda is also on the High Level Group on HIV Prevention and Sexual Health for Young People in Eastern and Southern Africa, advisor to the Dutch Government in the planning of the Human Rights Thematic Forum for ICPD+20 and chairs the NGO Committee on the Status of Women in Geneva. In May 2014 Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda was named Goodwill Ambassador of the African Union Campaign to End Child Marriage, further consolidating the World YWCA’s important work on ending child, early and forced marriage in a single generation.
Cecelia B. Hodges was born, raised, and educated in New York City: Harlem and Washington Heights. She is an educator and performer who has used these two roles toward the elimination of racism and the empowerment of women.
In the 1960’s she worked with a committee to form the African, Afro-American Studies Program at Douglass College, where she also founded the Black Arts Group; a speaking choir that motivates political awareness and racial and cultural awareness through the spoken word. She followed her teaching path at Talladega College (AL), Douglass College where she was an Associate Professor in the Department of Speech and Dramatic Art, at Swarthmore and Columbia (Visiting Professor), and at Princeton University (faculty member, Department of English and Assistant Dean of the College).
As a performer, Cecelia has presented numerous one-woman shows and has appeared in ensemble productions at the Penthouse Dance and Drama Theatre (NY), the Players Company (Trenton), the Theatre Guild of New Jersey, the Bridge Players Theatre (Burlington), and, currently, as a member of OnStage Seniors of McCarter Theatre. For more than ten years, she presented an annual celebration of the life of Paul Robeson at the Princeton Public Library's "Readings Over Coffee". The programs were presented as monologues or in Readers Theatre or Chamber Theatre style based on Robeson speeches and works about him. Recently, her "Memories of Maya" program was presented as part of the "Witherspoon at Five" series at Witherspoon Street Presbyterian Church. All of these performances have the same classic aim: to entertain and instruct.
Cecelia has served her community through volunteering as a member of the Board of the YWCA, the Board of Associates of McCarter Theatre, past president of the Central New Jersey Links, Inc., and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. She is an elder at Witherspoon Church, a life member of the NAACP and has received several awards including: Woman of Distinction, Delaware-Raritan Girl Scouts; Princeton African American Studies Program; Mission Associate to Imani Community Church; Princeton Community House, Princeton University; Progressive Women's Fellowship, First Baptist Church, Princeton; Central NJ Links; Witherspoon Verse Speaking Choir; Trenton Museum Society and McCarter Theatre Center; Paul Robeson House Committee; Betsey Stockton Award; and Institute of Wonderful Women Working for Empowerment award.
She believes the greatest barrier to accomplishing the YWCA’s mission of eliminating racism and empowering women is “The deeply rooted degree to which racism exists in society and the reluctance to pursue serious conversation and necessary correction of situations requiring it,” and adheres to the advice of Shirley Chisholm to be ‘unbought and unbossed’.