City&State New York awards Mayor Dinkins 50 Over 50 Lifetime Achievement Award

"Three years ago, former New York City Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum (note: Betsy was Parks and Recreation Commissioner in the Dinkins Administration) asked us why City & State only honors people under 40. From this innocent question, City & State’s annual 50 Over 50 Awards were born.

This is our third year honoring 50 leaders who have distinguished themselves by helping New York in civic affairs. From crime prevention to education reform to vital nonprofit work, we are highlighting a wide array of leaders – some widely known and others who have become influential behind the scenes.

In this issue and at a gala event on Jan. 29, we recognize and thank these 50 people for making our city the greatest big city in America. We also highlight the work of 10 Lifetime Achievement award winners, including former New York City Mayor David Dinkins..."

Here is the text of Mayor Dinkins award:

Mayoral metaphors are not known for being colorful – with one exception. New York City: The Gorgeous Mosaic. It was David Dinkins, the first African-American mayor of New York City, whose trope captured the collective imagination, but the idea actually came from Peter Johnson, a friend who used to write speeches for him.

“I like to mention it,” Dinkins said, “because everybody remembers that Kennedy said, ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.’ But that was written for him by Ted Sorensen.”

On the topic of credit, many believe Dinkins deserves more for the decline in crime that began under his watch. His administration's Safe Streets, Safe City program significantly increased the size of the NYPD.

Since 1994, when Dinkins started serving on the Columbia University faculty, many students have approached him for advice.

“I say if your reason for wishing to be involved in government or politics is because you envision seeing your name in lights, you’re not properly motivated,” he said. “You should seek office because you want to help people.”


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