Malcolm "Mac" Farmer III will receive the Family Service of Rhode Island’s Brighter Futures Award, which is given annually to a person or organization making an "outstanding contribution to the well-being of children.’’
A prominent Providence lawyer, Farmer has a long record of community service, political involvement and advocacy for civil rights causes. As a young lawyer in 1965 he left the Providence-based Hinckley Allen law firm and went to Mississippi during the heyday of the civil rights and voting rights movements, where he represented civil rights workers and African-American citizens seeking their civil and voting rights against state and local governments that sought to keep the American South an apartheid region.
In 1967, he returned to Rhode Island, where he continued to work for fairness as executive director of the Governor’s Commission on Delinquency and Criminal Administration. As a member of the Providence City Council representing an East Side neighborhood, Farmer was an early advocate for ending discrimination against gay and lesbian citizens.
Farmer was married to the late Susan Farmer, who in the 1980s became the first woman elected to statewide office when she won her campaign for secretary of state. Farmer and his spouse created the `Malcolm Farmer III and Susan L. Farmer Fund’ at the Rhode Island Foundation promoting equality in issues involving race, sexual orientation, gender, education and immigration.
Farmer is the longtime president of the Family Service of Rhode Island. "Malcolm Farmer helped change Rhode Island and the nation,’’ said Margaret Hollard McDuff, CEO of Family Service. "His is a life of building brighter futures for people suffering from hatred and injustice and for children and families in crisis from abuse, homelessness and other issues.’’
McDuff lauded Farmer’s service on the Family Service board, saying, "He has provided tireless leadership to improve the agency’s services and fund-raising capacity.’’
The event honoring Farmer takes place on October 20, beginning at noon at the Rhode Island Convention Center. Tickets and sponsorships are available by contacting Johnnie Chace at 401-519-2289 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org