9th Annual
joseph s. murphy scholArship

for diversity in labor
Awards Ceremony

Recognizing 2021 rising leaders
introducing scholArship recipients
for the 2021-22 academic year

Dear Friends:

I am pleased to welcome you to the ninth annual celebration of the Joseph S. Murphy Scholarship for Diversity in Labor. This is a particularly important event not just for the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies, but for The City University of New York as a whole because of our shared commitment to serving a highly diverse student body that is as full of promise and talent as our great city.

The Murphy Institute began more than 30 years ago as a special partnership between CUNY and New York’s labor unions. Today it has grown into the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies, a thriving academic institution dedicated to studying and serving the needs of working people.

The School of Labor and Urban Studies is educating and empowering new generations of leaders that reflect one of New York City’s greatest strengths:  the wonderful diversity of communities here, including people from underrepresented, lower income, and immigrant groups. The School is also a resource for prominent labor leaders, policy analysts and scholars of labor and workforce development, as well as a well-known hub for civic discourse and debate.  

This year we again have the privilege to salute some of the rising stars in the labor movement. These individuals are leaders who have made their mark through organizing and political action. Icon gratulate them on their recognition and look forward to the contributions we know they will make in the name of advocacy, public service and social justice.

Just as CUNY has demonstrated, generation after generation, its remarkable capabilities as a beacon of opportunity and an engine of social and economic mobility, these scholarships will help support future labor advocates who will further expand economic progress for working-class New Yorkers.

Thank you for your support of the Joseph S.Murphy Scholarship for Diversity in Labor at the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies.  


Félix V. Matos Rodríguez


Office of TheChancellor

205 East 42nd Street, 18th floor
New York, NY 10017
646 664-9100 tel
646 664-3868 fax

Leadership in a Time of Crisis


Dear Friends and Colleagues:

Welcome to the ninth annual Diversity Scholarship Awards event. Though the Corona virus is still with us, prospects for the coming year certainly seem brighter. One thing has not changed: The Scholarship award ceremony is a joyous moment. 

This evening, we introduce the next cohort of Diversity Scholarship recipients, entering SLU in the 2021-22 academic year. While each of them is a unique individual, they are all outstanding students with a shared passion for social justice.  Tonight, we also honor two rising leaders, whose efforts on behalf of workers and working-class communities serve as a model not only for our Scholarship winners but for all who dream of a more just and equitable society. The Diversity Scholarship we celebrate tonight represents SLU’s commitment to preparing a representative leadership for the future of social movements, particularly those that stand for workers’ rights and economic equality. Never in the history of our country have we needed inspired leadership more than we do now. The Scholarship recipients we welcome tonight are full of promise.  

For three decades—from our beginnings at Queens College and as the Murphy Institute—we have been sustained by the ideals of social justice and public service. They remain guiding principles as we expand our mission to provide higher education opportunities for workers, advance the fields of Labor Studies and Urban Studies, and serve the labor movement and broader community. I am very optimistic about the future of our new School and very proud of the accomplishments that have brought us to this moment. I am especially proud of how we have met the challenges of Covid-19, adjusting rapidly to distance learning and virtual public programming.  

Ultimately, the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies is the sum of its parts. I want to thank our faculty and staff for the magnificent work they are doing, guiding us successfully through our early years. Thanks also to our Advisory Board and its chair, Arthur Cheliotes who has put his heart into the work of sustaining our School and its Diversity Scholarship. To our students, I say, you are the soul of this program. Hats off to those of you who are essential workers, helping New Yorkers cope with the pandemic, while successfully completing your academic work.   

On this occasion, I want to express my profound gratitude to all the donors and supporters whose contributions have helped so much to make the Diversity Scholarship a signature program of our School. Once again, we call on you to help us sustain this unique leadership program.   

Very best wishes,

Gregory Mantsios

Founding Dean

Labor and Engagement as a Path Towards Change


Dear Colleagues and Friends:

Welcome to the 2021 Diversity Scholarship celebration. On this happy occasion, I want to say thank you to all who have supported the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies (SLU). Thanks to you, we are completing our third academic year; and our Diversity Scholarship is going strong, despite the challenges we have faced as the Corona pandemic continues. The list of supporters is long, including the 23 unions and community organizations on SLU’s Advisory Board, the leadership of CUNY, and numerous elected officials in the State Legislature and New York City Council. 

The Diversity Scholarship is a shining example of what SLU stands for —a commitment to social justice and a vision of economic equality for all. It is dedicated to educating a new generation of labor and community leaders who reflect the composition of our workforce. The recipients—whom we recognize tonight—have been selected not only for their academic achievements but also for their commitment to movements for social change. As Chair of SLU’s Advisory Board, I want to congratulate them as well as the Rising Leaders we honor today. Together, they represent a new generation of leaders in the fight for a better world.  

The unions and community organizations on our Board represent workers and working-class communities—largely women and people of color.  For our constituents, education is critical to professional advancement and a better quality of life. SLU, and the Murphy Institute before it, has provided thousands of our constituents with college classes and college degrees, as well as certificates in areas of specialization. Looking ahead, SLU has enormous potential for growth. The School has committed itself to expanding liberal arts programs in Labor and Urban Studies, and creating more workforce programs for economic mobility. Leadership education across the board is fundamental to the mission of the School.  

The Diversity Scholarship supports the aspirations of our new School in every way. I want to thank the organizations and individuals who have made generous donations to the Scholarship fund in the past. I urge you all to reach deep into your pockets once again to help sustain this Scholarship for the long haul. 


Arthur Cheliotes

Chair, CUNY SLU Advisory Board
President Emeritus & Business Manager, Local 1180, Communications Workers of America
1180 Logo


New York State AFL-CIO
MarioCilento, President
New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO
Vincent Alvarez, President
Local 1180, Communications Workers of America (CWA)
Gloria Middleton, President
 *Arthur Cheliotes, Board Chair
District Council 37, American Federationof State, County, & Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
Henry Garrido, Executive Director
(alt. Barbara Ingram-Edmonds, Dir. of Field Operations)
(Stephen Johnson, Fund Administrator, Education Fund)
Workers United (SEIU)
Edgar Romney, Secretary-Treasurer
1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East
George Gresham, President
(alt. Samantha Morales, Director of Education & Leadership Development)
1199 SEIU Training and Upgrading Fund  
Sandi Vito, Executive Director
(alt. Vilma Linares Vaughn, Deputy Executive Director)
United Federation of Teachers (UFT)
Michael Mulgrew, President
(alt. Mary Vaccaro, Vice President of Education)
Public Employees Federation (PEF)
Wayne Spence, President
(alt. Bernadette O’Connor, Region 11 Coordinator)
Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA), Region 2
Lester Crockett, President
(alt. Matthew D’Amico, Political Action Coordinator)
Local 237, International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT)
Gregory Floyd, President
(alt. Bertha Aiken, Director of Education)
Consortium for Worker Education (CWE)
Joseph McDermott, Executive Director
(alt. Deborah Buxton, Deputy Director of Education)
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
Gerald Hudson, Executive Vice President
(alt. Mark Levinson, Chief Economist)
Local 237, International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT)
Gregory Floyd, President
(alt. Bertha Aiken, Director of Education)
Consortium for Worker Education (CWE)
Joseph McDermott, Executive Director
(alt. Deborah Buxton, Deputy Director of Education)
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
Gerald Hudson, Executive Vice President
(alt. Mark Levinson, Chief Economist)
Local 32BJ, ServiceEmployees International Union (SEIU)
Kyle Bragg, President
(alt. Lenore Friedlaender, Assistant to the President)
(Linda Nelson, Director, Thomas Shortman Training Fund)
Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100
Anthony Utano, President
(alt. Charles Jenkins, Director, Training & Upgrading Fund)
Local 94, International Union of Operating Engineers
Kuba Brown, Business Manager/Financial Secretary
(alt. Howard Styles, Director of Training)
Local 1549, NYC Clerical-Administrative Employees
Eddie Rodriguez, President
Professional Staff Congress (PSC)
Barbara Bowen, President
Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE)
Lowell Peterson, Executive Director
Region 9A, United Auto Workers (UAW)
Beverly Brakeman, Director
(alt. Ken Lang, Sub-Regional Director for New York City)
Local 371, Social Service EmployeesUnion (SSEU)
Anthony Wells, President
District 1, Communications Workers ofAmerica (CWA)
Dennis G. Trainor, Vice President, CWA District 1
(alt. Robert Master, Assistant to the Vice President)
New York Committee on Occupational Safety and Health
  Charlene Obernauer, Executive Director
Community Voices Heard
Afua Atta-Mensah, Executive Director
New York Communities for Change
Jonathan Westin, Executive Director
New York Immigration Coalition
Steve Choi, Executive Director
(alt. Murad Awawdeh, Vice President of Advocacy)
State & Broadway, Inc.
Richard Winsten, Esq
*denotes Advisory Board Chair

Guest Speaker


Guest Speaker

Jessica Ramos

New York State Senator

Jessica Ramos represents New York's 13th District in the New York State Senate, which includes the Queens neighborhoods of Corona, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, and parts of Astoria, Elmhurst, and Woodside – many of which were hardest hit by COVID-19. She chairs the Senate Committee on Labor, where she's passed historic legislation to grant farm workers basic rights, raise wages for car wash workers, create a registry of workplace fatalities, and protect immigrants from retaliatory employers, among others. Senator Ramos has also passed legislation to legalize e-bikes and e-scooters, and is currently fighting for a billionaire's tax that will fund economic relief for excluded workers and beyond. A strong union advocate, Senator Ramos, before joining the Senate, worked with Build Up NYC to fight for construction, building and hotel maintenance workers in New York. She also worked with SSEU Local 371 and 32BJ SEIU, where she helped building maintenance workers, office cleaners and public schools cleaners win contracts that protected their rights, wages, and benefits. Most recently, she served as New York City's first Director of Latino Media, where she helped keep the city’s 1.87 million Spanish-speaking residents, and the community and ethnic media at large, informed about government services and initiatives.

Senator Ramos was born in Elmhurst to undocumented Colombian immigrants. She grew up in Astoria, and now lives in Jackson Heights with her two sons. 

rising leaders


2021 Rising Leader Award Recipient

Michelle Crentsil

Political Director

New York State Nurses Association

Michelle Crentsil is deeply committed to the labor movement and the fight for social justice. She joined NYSNA as political director in March 2020 just as the pandemic arrived in NewYork. Before joining NYSNA, she organized healthcare workers at the Committee of Interns & Residents (CIR/SEIU) and property services workers at SEIU Local 32BJ, where she worked on the union’s airports campaign in New York andNew Jersey. Through Open Philanthropy, she has also funded and advised political and advocacy campaigns nationwide to end mass incarceration. While most of her work has been with institutions and organizations, Crentsil is no stranger to grassroots movements. She actively participated in the Occupy Wall Street movement and continues to support the Movement for Black Lives.

Crentsil was raised in Chicago and Los Angeles. “I’ve learned about, witnessed, and experienced injustices firsthand,” she says. “But I’ve only felt powerful enough to actually change things as part of a movement.”

Crentsil comes from a family of healthcare workers and advocates, including her mother who retired as an RN after nearly 40 years.  She graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Black Studies and Women’s Studies. As a student at Harvard, she was also a labor activist and welfare rights activist, working to better the lives of security guards and dining hall workers on campus and in their surrounding communities.

2021 Rising Leader Award Recipient

Charles Khan

Organizing Director

Strong Economy For All Coalition

In June 2020—soon after George Floyd’s death—Charles Khan organized an occupation of New York City Hall, pressuring lawmakers to cut the City’s Police Department budget by at least $1 billion. “It was kind of the beautiful trouble that I love to be a part of and help co-create,” he says.

Khan is Organizing Director of The Strong Economy for All Coalition, an alliance of labor unions and community groups, fighting for economic equality, funding for public goods, and corporate accountability in New York State. Rallying along side workers, Khan has advocated for state-level policy changes on issues ranging from Medicare For All to progressive tax policy.

Among Khan’s proudest achievements is helping to establish a $15 minimum wage in New York State. But perhaps his sweetest victory was helping workers at Toys “R” Us get severance in the wake of the store’s bankruptcy--Khan's first summer job was at the toy store.

“A lot of what brings joy to me is being able to build community,” Khan says. In is work, he specializes in campaign logistics, popular education, coalition building, direct action and gras stops organizing. In addition to working at The Strong Economy for All Coalition, he works at the Center for Popular Democracy, where he has focused on federal stimulus efforts. In 2020, he was named to the City & State NY 40 under 40 rising stars list.

2021 Rising Leader Award Recipient

Angeles Solis

Lead Organizer, Workplace Justice Team

Make the Road New York

The daughter of a construction worker and a nurse, Angeles Solis grew up in a union household in eastern Washington state. She participated in union-related activities from an early age and remembers handing out pamphlets during a walkout, organized by her father when she was 12 years old. Says Solis, “I grew up understanding the ills of capitalism.”

Today, Solis is lead organizer of the Workplace Justice Team at Make the Road New York, one of the largest membership-led community organizations in the City, providing direct services and organizing for housing, labor and immigrant rights, police accountability, environmental justice, and more.

At Make the Road, Solis led the fight against Amazon’s plans to set up shop in Queens. She also helped lead Amazon warehouse workers in Staten Island in their demand for better conditions.

Before joining Make the Road, Angeles was the International Campaigns Coordinator at United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS), where she spearheaded a successful campaign to secure a global access agreement for the Worker Rights Consortium and NIKE Inc, landing a multi-million dollar settlement for garment workers in Vietnam. In Washington State, she organized with fast food, retail and community health workers.

Named Scholarships 

Scholarships Honor Morton Bahr,  Albert Neumann, Basil Paterson, John Reid, and David Livingston

Morton Bahr,

Former President Emeritus of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), served as union President from 1985-2005. Under President Bahr’s leadership, CWA evolved to become one of the most powerful labor unions in the United States and internationally. Today, CWA, with its roots in the communications industry, is a leading union for professional, technical, media and information-age workers. A native New Yorker, Bahr emerged from humble beginnings to lead a successful organizing drive for CWA among his coworkers at Mackay Radio in 1954. From that campaign, the concept and role of unions in reaching out to “new economy” workers would eventually expand. He promoted new bargaining and campaign strategies to deal with the fragmented and newly competitive telecom industry. Bahr also expanded CWA’s jurisdiction into new areas, such as health care, the public sector, and higher education.

Albert Neumann

was born in 1886 in the Austro-Hungarian town of Sopron. A teaching post brought him to Nyiregyhaza, in the Northeast portion of Hungary, where he lived until he was deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp sometime in the spring of 1944. He died there, a holocaust victim, at the age of 58. Neumann was the principal of the Jewish School in Nyiregyhaza. He was also a writer whose tales about Rabbi Eizik, the founder of the Hasidic movement in Hungary, were published between 1935 and 1942. In English translation some of these stories appear in Rabbi Eizik: Hasidic Stories about the Zaddik of Kallo, edited by Andrew Handler and published by Associated University Presses in 1978. A scholarship donation in his name comes from the estate of his daughter, Magda Neumann Weiss. 

Named Scholarships 

Basil Paterson,

1926-2014, was the son of Caribbean immigrant parents. Raised in Harlem, he attended Fordham University, where he earned a B.A. and a law degree. Becoming active in Democratic Party politics, Paterson famously forged ties with Charles Rangel, David Dinkins, and Percy Sutton. In 1965, he was elected to the State Senate, where he earned a reputation for championing progressive legislation and for strong support of organized labor. He later served as deputy mayor and New York’s first African-American Secretary of State. After serving in elected posts, Paterson became a prominent labor relations expert, representing the hospital workers union as well as the TWU and the teachers’ union. He lived to see his son, David Paterson, serve as Governor of New York State. The Basil Paterson Scholarship was established by 1199SEIU.

John Reid,

1947-2015, served as a Vice President and Executive Vice President of 1199SEIU for 26 years. Working out of the Maryland-D.C. area, Reid oversaw the union’s efforts to expand healthcare access for thousands of Maryland residents, raise wages and improve benefits for hardworking families, and bring good jobs to the Maryland-D.C. region. Among Reid’s many notable achievements was the implementation of a joint labor-management education fund for union members. He also led the fight for an historic union contract at Johns Hopkins Hospital, raising standards for healthcare workers in Baltimore and throughout the state. Born in Gastonia, N.C., he was drafted into the Army after high school and served as a marksman in the Vietnam War; he was awarded the Purple Heart for injuries he received in combat. The John Reid Scholarship was established by SEIU International.

David Livingston,

1915-1995, was the president of District 65 of the United Auto Workers and a longtime proponent of civil rights. At its height, District 65 had a membership of more than 40,000 workers and became particularly active in organizing women and minorities. Livingston was a confidant of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., among other civil rights leaders, and, in 1960, right before the election, he arranged a meeting between Dr. King and John F. Kennedy. Under his leadership, District 65 forged a strong relationship with the women’s movement, dealing with issues like equal pay, sexual harassment and the need for day care. The union was also a leader in labor’s participation in efforts to end the Vietnam War. The David Livingston Memorial Scholarship was established by UAW Region 9A, Julie Kushner, Director. Remembering David Livingston, Kushner says, “In the hours before my first strike at Barnard College in 1984, David gave me this great advice: ‘Go in there, act crazy, fight like hell and then call me.’”

Paving the Way for a Better Tomorrow


Joseph S. Murphy Scholarship for Diversity in Labor

2021 Recipients

Anu Biswas

Anu Biswas is the recipient of this year’s 1199SEIU Basil Paterson Scholarship Award. Anu grew up in Bangalore, India, in an environment of activists and politically engaged family and friends. They are fluent or are conversant in 4 languages of India, plus familiar with Arabic and Spanish!

Anu had the privilege of receiving a scholarship to Middlebury College in Vermont, but the wealth of the campus and its contrast to the impoverished surroundings was a shock.  To understand their surroundings better, Anu spent time volunteering at the Vermont Workers Center and learned about concerns confronting area workers in the state’s poorest county.  For their senior project on codes of conduct, Anu focused on labor standards in the hotel housekeeping industry, developing a project and receiving grant funding to interview hotel housekeepers in India and California about occupational health and safety conditions. 

Anu gained valuable labor experience in the Union Semester program at SLU in 2015, placing as a research intern for UNITE HERE. The melding of excellent courses with practical union experience, plus the diversity within the program cemented their desire to continue working with labor. Shortly thereafter, Anu began working in the research department of 1199 SEIU.  Both unions have memberships that are primarily women of color, many of whom are immigrants, and Anu felt deeply connected to their experiences.  

The Director of Research at 1199SEIU says that “Anu has a broadly progressive and intersectional outlook with a willingness to do the hard work that builds the labor movement.  Anu was an active, engaged member of the research team, developing a deep understanding of markets and providers.” 

Due to the crisis of affordable housing in New York, Anu joined with their neighbors to organize a rent strike in their building during this period of the Covid pandemic. They see community and labor work as deeply intertwined with the overall oppression of people of color and building greater solidarity as the key way to effect meaningful long-term change. 

Joseph S. Murphy Scholarship for Diversity in Labor

2021 Recipients

Latoya Fisher

Latoya Fisher, recipient of this year’s Morton Bahr Award, has big dreams and ambitions, and she’s well on her way to achieving them, both at work and as a student at SLU. Working in an executive capacity for the New York City Police Department Personnel Unit, she has been promoted three times, and her goal is to become a director within the Personnel Bureau of the agency … and eventually, to run for a city or state government position!  

But all along the way, she has generously helped her fellow CWA Local 1180 members to reach their dreams, or resolve problems at work. For Latoya, one of the best parts of her job is being in a position to help people who are unhappy in theirs – sometimes by helping them transfer to a more satisfying job, to access their benefits, or to navigate the process for taking leave. She’s an active volunteer with the Local’s programs and initiatives and aspires to take on greater leadership roles within the union.

But she has also been an outstanding student, earning honors, making the Dean’s list, and joining the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society at Kingsborough Community College. She plans to finish her Bachelor of Arts at SLU, and continue her education by pursuing an M.A. degree. As one of her recommenders noted, “Latoya sees the labor movement as the essential vehicle in the struggles for economic and racial justice. She has a truly impressive ability to connect micro-level dynamics that she or her classmates have experienced in life to larger political and economic structures. Her skill at presenting these ideas clearly, and with tremendous humility, in a way that connects to and inspires others, is what impresses me most.” 

Joseph S. Murphy Scholarship for Diversity in Labor

2021 Recipients

Melanie Kruvelis

Melanie Kruvelis is the child of two Ford assembly line workers, and was the first in her family to attend a four-year college. While at the University of Michigan, she quickly developed her talent for journalism, becoming editorial page editor of the campus daily, and overseeing the work of 20 student writers. Simultaneously, she stretched her journalism chops by writing for USA Today and Michigan Public Radio, which hired her as an assistant editor.  

Writing about tough issues sharpened her analysis of inequality and led her to a research and policy position at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, where she was granted a prestigious fellowship. There, her compelling policy brief on single mothers in college was used to successfully fight for increased funding for campus childcare. She also organized to improve the salary and conditions of childcare providers.

Melanie has been instrumental in building Young Invincibles, a dynamic new political education, mentorship, and mobilization program that trains college students to advocate for systemic changes and build student power. Young Invincibles has fought for increased funding and free tuition at CUNY. It has organized student town halls highlighting inadequate mental health services, which resulted in CUNY expanding mental health support, and it is currently fighting for more counselors at all public colleges.  

Melanie is especially proud of her bold campaign to assess the barriers that un-housed students face when trying to enter college. Her report on college student homelessness resulted in New York City Council funding to expand campus food programs as well as changes in city shelter policies to better support students academically. In 2019, Melanie was appointed by the NY City Council to serve on the City’s Youth Board, based on her research and advocacy to end young-adult homelessness.

As one of her recommenders said, “Melanie embodies the values of empowering people from marginalized communities and holding people in power accountable. She’s a skilled organizer, scholar-activist, and advocate, and she builds collective power through authentic engagement across racial, ethnic, and gender identities.”

Melanie feels an urgency to help communicate labor’s values to more young people – our future leaders. By melding her journalist skills, policy expertise, and coalition building and organizing experience, she hopes to impact both unions and young people to increase solidarity in the fight for an anti-authoritarian, egalitarian, and livable planet.

Joseph S. Murphy Scholarship for Diversity in Labor

2021 Recipients

Patrick Milord

Patrick Milord has worked as an MTA station agent for over two decades, and is currently a student at SLU in the B.A. in Urban and Community Studies program. His journey from apathetic union member to TWU Local100 shop steward began after he met an inspirational and remarkable union activist, a transit cleaner, who was, Patrick says, “a great colleague, good friend and a die-hard unionist who permanently embedded in my mind, heart and soul the essence of unionism and labor’s struggle throughout the world.”

Patrick learned how crucial it was for members to have union representation immediately after job-related injuries or assaults, or when facing unfair discipline. He participates actively in lobbying and union activities, and, whenever needed, advises members on issues like compensation and worker s’rights.

Patrick is eager to learn more about collective bargaining and public sector laws and policies. He’s also interested in community struggles, such as the need for affordable housing.  

One of his recommenders and professors at SLU commented, “I remember Patrick for both his moral clarity and his curiosity. He is a great thinker and has all the qualities you might want in a leader: an extremely sharp mind, a great ability to communicate, a patient yet decisive manner, and a deeply grounded experience in the nation’s largest transit system.”

At his last visit with his inspirational friend, in the hospital, Patrick was amazed to witness him still on the phone handling union business. Although his friend’s passing was profoundly sad, Patrick remains energized by the “baton” he feels was passed to him, and he intends to run with it in the cause of unionism and labor for a long, long time!

Joseph S. Murphy Scholarship for Diversity in Labor

2021 Recipients

Jasmin Sanchez

Jasmin Sanchez is the recipient of this year’s Albert Neumann Award. Early in her life, Jasmin recalls accompanying her grandmother to appointments, serving as her translator, and witnessing how powerless and frustrated her grandmother felt when treated unfairly. As a young person, Jasmin resolved to fight for equality and justice, and to work in service to those less empowered. Starting as a volunteer with the Boys Club in New York, she helped meet the translation needs of community participants and arranged trainings and services for families.  

Community activism has been the common theme of all of her work and volunteer efforts. As one of her recommenders commented, “Jasmin is a leader because she has community followers! She has brought thousands of NYCHA residents into the movement for climate justice and [fought] to get real estate interests out of politics.”  Jasmin has mobilized around many issues ranging from employment and housing services to criminal justice reform. While at the Henry Street Settlement and Partnership with Children, she organized community projects, helping youth with afterschool or summer jobs, college preparation classes, health fairs and tenants rights education.

Through her activism, Jasmin has realized the importance of getting involved politically, and has found a new passion for her “free time”!  She’s an active member-leader of DSA, Democratic Socialists of America, and was a dedicated volunteer for the Bernie Sanders and AOC campaigns, where she took on leadership roles in hosting issue-based town halls, as well as serving as the shop steward for the AOC campaign’s union.

Another of Jasmin’s recommenders noted, “She has that blend of incredible passion and compassion, intellectual seriousness, and humility, together with humor that makes others look to her. And she demonstrates a clear-eyed understanding of the structural forces affecting her community. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see her in office one day, and it will be with a thoughtful eye on how to build movement power.”  

Joseph S. Murphy Scholarship for Diversity in Labor

2021 Recipients

Nazli Tamer

Nazli Tamer grew up in a secular, progressive home in Turkey, where family discussions were engaged, lively – and private. Growing up in the shadow of several coup d’états and an increasingly marginalizing government, she pursued higher education in the United States, eventually moving to the U.S. permanently in search of tolerance, respect, and opportunity.

At the University of Michigan, Nazli majored in Organizational Studies, delving deeply into analyzing how institutions and power structures function, perpetuate their values, and catalyze or suppress progress or collective power. Her most satisfying projects as an undergraduate were volunteering in the county jail, and conducting interviews with autoworkers from the early and militant days of the UAW.  

While maintaining Honors grades, Nazli spent a year conducting research on international humanitarian law, and organized students around the UN sustainable development goals. Her colleague said of her, “Nazli is unmatched in excellence. She led with words and actions, strongly influencing legislative changes. She has the unique ability to mobilize people and create long term agendas for positive change.”

Nazli spent several years in the gender equality and diversity and inclusion fields, where she conducted research and worked closely with employers to identify ways of making the workplace more equitable. She attributes her strong understanding of employers’ narratives to these experiences, giving her an edge in strategizing for winning labor campaigns.

Her expertise in communications and passion for workers’ rights led her to SEIU 32BJ, where today she directs communications for NY organizing campaigns and airports, amplifying the voices and stories of workers. Her long-term goal is to revolutionize labor communications. She hopes to equip unions with tools to broadly organize online and offline, and change the narrative about workers nationwide.

32BJ President Kyle Bragg says that Nazli “has brought new ideas and strategies to the table [and] brought to light heartbreaking stories of workers while showing they are empowered and ready to fight. The sky is the limit for Nazli.”

Within the labor movement, Nazli has found a home that helps define the true meaning of being American – the ideals of opportunity, equality, freedom and prosperity. But for many from the Middle East, the barriers and challenges are daunting. Nazli looks forward to breaking those barriers for all those who still feel invisible, and strengthening our movement to reach millions more.

Joseph S. Murphy Scholarship for Diversity in Labor

2021 Recipients

Miriam Uribe Martinez

Miriam Uribe Martinez is the recipient of this year’s David Livingston Memorial Scholarship Award. Since she was young, Miriam has had an acute sensitivity to the special struggles faced by undocumented workers in the USA. Her parents immigrated to California from Mexico, and found work in factories, homes, or workplaces where it was difficult to speak up about unpaid overtime or unsafe conditions. 

Her parents encouraged her to aim for college, but strapped finances and her undocumented status created tremendous challenges. Miriam credits the incredible support she received from faculty and friends at the University of San Francisco for not only her physical survival, but also for teaching her profound lessons about solidarity, dignity, and mutual aid. In college she spearheaded initiatives like “UndocuWeek” to educate the community about the diversity of the immigrant experience, and she successfully fought to create small, unrestricted scholarships for undocumented students. She also earned numerous awards at college, including for public service, for leadership, and for social justice. 

Miriam’s dream was to come to New York, and she was thrilled with the opportunity to help organize day laborers and domestic workers in Brooklyn with the Workers Justice Project, and then as a paralegal and advocacy coordinator with TakeRoot Justice. While passionate about her work, she has also learned that nonprofit work is challenging, and social justice fighters sometimes need to advocate in their own behalf! One of her most transformative experiences was on the bargaining team representing her UAW Local 2320 coworkers as they negotiated their first contract. Miriam was elected union co-chair and credits the camaraderie of the staff for their successful contract. They won many improvements which recognize the special skills and needs of workers in nonprofits, such as language abilities, reasonable workloads, mental health days, and affordable healthcare. 

One of Miriam’s recommenders noted, “Her life experiences have led Miriam to be a powerful champion for those who are undocumented, people of color, women, day laborers and all workers. While union co-chair, Miriam showed incredible poise, intelligence and judiciousness while continuing to be an advocate for workers rights.” 

Miriam now works at the National Domestic Workers Alliance, which works to achieve dignity and fairness for domestic workers. She loves her new job … and is excited to see NDWA’s first union contract come to fruition as a proud member of CWA Local 1180!

Generous Support



Gregory Mantsios, Founding Dean
Burton Sacks, Associate Dean of Operations
Gladys Palma de Schrynemakers, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs
The Joseph S. Murphy Scholarship for Diversity in Labor and its annual Awards Celebration would not be possible without the dedication and hard work of an extraordinary team.
Diversity Scholarship Coordinating Team

Nelly Benavides
Rob Callaghan
Paula Finn
Laurie Grimes
Rose Imperato

Antoinette Isable-Jones
Laurie Kellogg
Kitty Krupat
Michael Lalan  
Maureen LaMar  

Aaron Lenchner  
Melanie M. Martinez
Cher Mullings
Gladys Palma de Schrynemakers
Rochel Pinder-Cuffie

The Support Team

Nana Ama Ampah
LaRey Walker
Dorothy Benson
June Cumberbatch

Suzette Ellington
Irene Garcia-Mathes
Michael Giliberti
Sharon Hardy

Eileen Hawkins-Bauman
Shana Palladino
David Unger
Nadhia Rahman

And all the staff of the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies who worked on this project.
Special thanks to Vanguard’s Danielle Rivard, John Mehl, Robbie Szelei and Brandon Smith for their expertise.