Mayor Jordan Glatt was honored by Shaping Summit Together with the Beacon Award Wednesday afternoon at the in the for his involvement in making the Hispanic community more united with the rest of Summit.
"He has spearheaded community dialogues with the Hispanic community," Board Chair Annette Dwyer said. "For our group to give him this award, we're trying to mention that people came away with a feeling of unity as a result of the mayor's office taking a leadership role. He gave hope and raised consciousness to 07901."
The community has been involved in creating diversity for some time, but the issue became more dire after a July 17 beating in the town promenade where a 47-year-old resident and native of El Salvador was allegedly killed by a group of teenagers.
"It's vital that [the mayor] accelerates progress and stays engaged with concerns over July 17 initiatives," Dwyer said, adding the importance of interacting government and agencies with the Hispanic community.
Glatt has helped to do just that by sparking individual and group initiatives among local residents in spreading diversity, forging a two-way dialogue with the and Board of Education.
One of the highlights of his efforts was establishing Oct. 5 as Hispanic Cultural Heritage Day, a day that recognizes the many cultural identities of Spanish communities.
"Eighteen of 21 Hispanic countries are represented in the community, and Costa Rica is the highest," Shaping Summit Together member and Spanish teacher Celine Benet said.
Benet added that working toward cultural acceptance with the Board of Education is particularly important as around "12 to 14 percent of students in Summit's schools are Hispanic."
While Glatt's efforts of diversifying the community to bring about a unified sense of "07901" have been met with great success, especially with the help of grassroots volunteers like Shaping Summit Together, there are still more holes to be filled.
"We need to bridge potential gaps in the community where English is a second language," Dwyer said.
"It's time to move on," Glatt said. "These are the community leaders, and it's touching for them to say thank you."