Niagara Gazette

Local News

January 16, 2013

Personal experience drives W. Lee Whitaker forward


Niagara Gazette — She never left, instead choosing to get married and raise a family. With her husband, Eugene, they have four daughters and five grandchildren.

Whitaker, a certified public housing manager with the Niagara Falls Housing Authority and STAR domestic violence instructor, is also a member of the NFC Corp. – the lending arm for the city – which provides loans to expand area businesses. She also continues the fight of 45 years ago as a commissioner for the Niagara Falls Human Rights Commission, whose goal is to break down barriers and promote equality.

She's also a member of the Niagara Falls Chapter of The Links Inc., for numerous years, where she serves as the chairwoman of the youth committee and has implemented numerous educational and cultural enrichment programs.

Stephanie W. Cowart, a coworker of Whitaker's, submitted the nomination. She said Whitaker exemplifies King's vision of the future through her struggle and involvement.

"She works hard to create the Beloved Community that Dr. King envisioned," Cowart said. "She is a firm believer that human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever the nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, language or other status. She believes that all are equally entitled to their human rights without discrimination and she works tirelessly to promote that belief through every avenue possible."

Tonight’s ceremony will also honor The Magdalene Project's Joanne Lorenzo and Falls High School student LaSharee Wallace, with a keynote address by Craig Pridgen of True Bethel Baptist Church, 1112 South Ave.

HIGH HONORS The Gazette is highlighting the three award recipients leading up to this year's Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration being held on Thursday night. The three winners: • LaSharee Wallace • W. Lee Whitaker • Joanne Lorenzo

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