Mayor Bob Murphy has been named the recipient of the 2013 Wayne Carle Legacy Award for outstanding contributions to diversity and equity in Jefferson County.
The award comes from Jeffco Public Schools Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and is named after the former Jeffco superintendent.
“It’s an extremely high honor, and when you look at the some of the past recipients, it’s great to be in such company,” Murphy said.
Previous winners include the Mile High United Way, Jeffco Action Center and Shermita West.
According to Jefferson County, the Wayne Carle Award was inspired by an event that Carle witnessed when he was a 10-year-old student in 1940. Carle and other campers were returning from the mountains, and stopped at a country club for a swim.
“One of the campers Mary Ota, an Asian American, was stopped and told she could not enter. Without saying a word, her fellow campers all turned around and got back on the bus,” according to the information.
The incident inspired Carle to promote cultural understanding and respect, and his efforts created the award that goes to others who promote these same ideas. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion was formed in 2009 to ensure students were well educated about respect of culture and diversity.
Irene Griego, director of the Office of Diversity, said that there are several different award categories — like for students, organizations, groups and individuals — and that the legacy award is the highest honor.
“The mayor has always been a champion for diversity in the city, and has been a longtime supporter of Jeffco schools,” she said.
Murphy said the award reflects on the attitude of the city as a whole.
“We have a strong commitment to diversity in Lakewood, and being honored for this means so much because of the schools’ same commitment,” Murphy said.
He noted that being accepting of all people has been a key feature of Lakewood for a long time — the city signs say it is an inclusive community, and that’s an idea the city still firmly believes in.
“I’m accepting this award not just on my behalf, but on behalf of the entire community,” Murphy said.
The award will be presented at a school board meeting on May 2.