The Ethical Humanism Society of Long Island was founded in 1950 in Garden City. The Social Justice Leadership Award was created by the society to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions in the areas of peace, justice, human rights or humanitarian causes. This year three Long Islanders were honored:
Both an activist and scholar, Sprintzen is professor emeritus of philosophy at Long Island University and currently the president of Jobs With Justice on Long Island. He is also a board member of the Community Builders of Long Island and the Ethical Culture Society of Long Island. He was the founder of the Research and Education Project of Long Island, on whose board he continues to serve as an officer, and the founder of the Long Island Progressive Coalition, an organization that advocates for affordable housing and health care, well-paying jobs and a clean environment. He is the author of four books on philosophy and social theory and has received awards from Vision Long Island and from Sustainable Long Island.
Keeler worked for Newsday for more than 40 years specializing in editorials about politics and government in Suffolk County, the environment, immigration, religion and transportation. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1996 for a series focusing on the life of St. Brigid’s Catholic parish in Westbury and in 2013 his work on Hurricane Sandy recovery was a finalist for another Pulitzer. Retired in 2012, Keeler serves as a consultant to the Hagedorn Foundation, which focuses on issues such as children and families, immigration, voting rights and civic engagement. He also is on the advisory board of the Child Care Council of Suffolk and the council of Pax Christi Long Island.
A full time legislator (New York State Assembly for the 16th District), Schimel is recognized for her passion on issues that affect New York, particularly the prevention of gun violence and protecting the environment. For two decades, she served on the board of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, is co-chair of State Legislators Against Illegal Guns, and in 2014 she joined the American State Legislators For Gun Violence Prevention. The Environmental Advocates of New York recognized Schimel as a leader—she has been outspoken in her opposition to hydrofracking. Schimel recently represented New York at the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators in Minnesota.