Linda Finn and Henrietta White-Holder are the 2018 winners of the Sixth Annual Red Bandana Award, which honors people and organizations who embody the spirit and work of the late Richard Walton, a journalist, teacher and activist for peace, labor and social justice issues.
Walton, who died of Leukemia at age 84 in 2012, was an adjunct professor at Rhode Island College who was a leader of the union representing part-time faculty. He was the candidate for vice-president on the Citizens Party ticket in 1984. A Brown University graduate, Walton had a distinguished career as a journalist in Providence and New York City. He devoted his life to advocating for better and more peaceful world. He was also a witty, wise fellow who loved sports(we know he is looking down at the Boston Celtics playoff run with a wide smile on his face), music and helping the less fortunate.
Walton often showed up at protests, musical events and softball wearing his trademark red bandana, which inspired the awards to be called the Red Bandana awards.
Henrietta White-Holder is the founder and CEO of Higher Ground International, a culturally grounded inter-generational social service organization that provides programs for West African immigrants, refugees and marginalized communities in Rhode Island as well as in rural villages in Liberia.
White-Holder started the organization in 2008 with just $1,000 in seed money.
Stephen Graham, a close Walton friend and Red Bandana spokesman, called White-Holder “an inspiration” to others in the community.
Linda Finn is a former Democratic state representative who is president of the board of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence, which lobbies at the Statehouse for common-sense gun control measures.
Bill Harley, a musician who was also close to Walton, said that this year’s selection process was challenging because the Red Bandana Fund received so many nominations of deserving community activists.
White-Holder and Finn will receive their awards at a celebration on Sunday, June 3rd at the Firefighters Memorial Hall on Printery Street in Providence. The event runs from 3 to 6 p.m., is family friendly and is free and open to the public. Music will be provided by the Extraordinary Rendition Band and the Horse-Eyed Men.