Martin Walsh

Mayor of Boston

Martin J. Walsh is Boston’s 54th mayor and was sworn in to serve a second term on January 1, 2018.

CWS is honoring Mayor Walsh for his commitment to ensure that every Bostonian has a fair opportunity at a good job, affordable housing, and a great education. As part of his interest in helping those facing barriers to economic well-being, the Mayor has visited CWS and spent time with our staff and participants.

Mayor Walsh established the nation’s first municipal Office of Recovery Services to prevent and treat substance abuse. He created a program that has become a model for increasing diversity in the workplace and providing good career opportunities for women and people of color.

He was born and raised in Dorchester by immigrant parents. His recovery from alcoholism as a young adult led to his lifelong commitment to the prevention and treatment of addiction. As a full-time legislator, he returned to school earning a degree in Political Science at Boston College.

Mayor Walsh continues to reside in Dorchester, with longtime partner Lorrie Higgins.

Martin Walsh will receive the Helen Keller Leadership Award

Helen Keller is recognized as a person who overcame her disabilities to become a world-famous speaker, author and advocate for people with disabilities.

At 19 months, Keller contracted an unknown illness that left her both deaf and blind. After her mother was advised to contact the Perkins Institute for the Blind, then located in South Boston, she was introduced to Anne Sullivan, who became instructor and companion until her death in 1936.

In 1888, Keller started attending the Perkins Institute for the Blind. Helen’s Boston connections continued when she studied at the Horace Mann School for the Deaf, located in Alston. In 1900 Helen was admitted to Radcliffe College and graduated Phi Beta Kappa, becoming the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Helen is remembered as an advocate for people with disabilities. She was a board advisor for CWS. Helen was dedicated to help women and those with disabilities become economically self-sufficient through advocating for training that would result in jobs. In 1915 she and George A. Kessler founded the Helen Keller International (HKI), devoted to research in vision, health and nutrition. In 1920, she helped to found the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

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