2020 Turning the Wheel Awardees

So excited to present our 2020 Awardees!

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Amir Dixon is a filmmaker, visual artist and Founder & Creative Director of ANI (Amir Now, Inc.) a Boston based, full service creative and visual design firm, that works to advance health and economic equity within communities of color and other marginalized communities.    He shares: “ I started ANI to create work that disrupts social norms, amplifies the voices of the marginalized and in turn has direct impact on the lives of our most vulnerable through art.“

Amir is also program director of CONNECTED Boston, a program of the Multicultural AIDS Coalition, that uses innovation and digital media to address health disparities in the lives of Black and Latino gay and bisexual, and other men who have sex with men in the greater Boston area, to reduce stigma related to sexual orientation.

Kay WalshKay Walsh , a first generation Irish Bostonian, is a mom, a grandmother, a Storyteller and a radical community activist. She brings her passionate voice and fierce determination to assist those struggling with substance abuse through prevention to Boston’s neighborhoods since l971.

Through her work at the Office for Children, Boston Against Drugs, The Smart Team, and now, South Boston Substance Abuse Prevention Collaborative out of the South Boston Action Center, she has advocated for justice and equity for everyone.

Fearless in her commitment to helping children and families and those struggling with addiction Kay, has never shied away from calling out and working to fix flaws in the system that may hinder recovery or harm families. At the same time she is an innovative and open to new ideas and methods as long as they work and help.

She is an agitator, in best sense of the word, for excellence and service at policy tables, coalition meetings, and in about every interaction.She is a community organizer, teacher, mentor, and a friend.


Gary Bailey, MSW, ACSW is currently a Professor of Practice at Simmons School of Social Work and at the Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences. At the School of Social work he coordinates the Dynamics of Racism and Oppression sequence. He chairs the School of Social Work Awards Committee; is Chair of the Simmons University Black Administrators, Faculty and Staff Council (BAFAS); is a member of the Simmons Faculty Senate; is vice chair of the Simmons President’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council (PDIAC) and co-Chaired the Simmons University Initiative on Human Rights and Social Justice.

In 2010 Professor Bailey was elected President of the International Federation of Social Workers. He is the first person of color to hold this post and only the third person from the United States to do so. IFSW is a federation representing over 90 countries and 746,000 social workers globally. He is a past president of the North American region of the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) located in Berne, Switzerland having served in that role from 2003 until 2006.He was appointed as the inaugural Chair of the Policy, Advocacy and Representation Commission (the PARC) in August 2006 where his responsibilities included the review of existing and the development of new policies; and he oversaw the IFSW representatives at the United Nations in Nairobi, Geneva, and New York City and Vienna.

In 2010 he was appointed to the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE) Global Commission. He previously served on the board of the North American and Caribbean Association of Schools of Social Work representing CSWE

He is a member of the board of the Fenway High School in Boston where he serves on the Governance and Facilities committees. In 2009 he was appointed by the Honorable Deval Patrick, Governor of Massachusetts, to serve on the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA). MEFA, created 30 years ago, is a self-financing state authority, not reliant on state or federal appropriation which sells bonds to help undergraduate and graduate students fund higher education. To date, MEFA has issued approximately $4.2 billion and bonds and has assisted hundreds of thousands of families in financing a college education. At MEFA he chairs the Nominating Committee, and is a member of the Audit Committee. He was reappointed by Governor Patrick to a term ending in 2019.

He is a member of the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) Board of Ambassadors and the AIDS Action Advisory Council. He is a Trustee of the Union United Methodist Church (UUMC) in Boston.

Professor Bailey was the Chairperson of the National Social Work Public Education Campaign. He is a former member of the NASW Foundation Board of Directors. He was a member of the board of the NASW Insurance Trust (now Assurance Services, Inc.), a public company which is the largest provider of insurance services for professional social workers.

He is a past President of National NASW having served as President from 2003 until 2005. He was President-elect from 2002-2003. His tenure at NASW National has included serving as the NASW National 2nd Vice President from 2000-2002 and as the Associations Treasurer from 1995-1997. He was also the President of the Massachusetts Chapter of NASW from 1993-1995

He is the recipient of numerous awards. Both the National and Massachusetts NASW named him Social Worker of the Year in 1998. He was made a Social Work Pioneer by NASW in 2005, making him the youngest individual to receive this honor and joining individuals such as Jane Addams and Whitney M. Young. In May 2013 Professor Bailey received the degree Doctor of Humane letters, honoris causa, from the University of Connecticut.

Naoe_in the studio_closeup_1-3 copy 2Naoe Suzuki is a visual artist whose work is conceptually driven by exploring our relationship with the environment through drawing, language, maps, and history. Born in Tokyo, Japan, Naoe first came to the U.S. as a high school exchange student in 1985.

Water and environment have been a defining thread in her work for the last ten years. Often drawn to things that are overlooked, forgotten, lost, hidden, or invisible in history, she has worked on various subjects in the past including ancient medicine, conjoined twins, and her identity as a Japanese woman.

In her most recent series entitled Extinction Studies, she is researching maps of the Adirondack region in northeastern New York, and tracing animal names from the maps for her ink drawings—names such as “Eagle lake,” “Little Otter Pond,” “Buck Mountain,” “Beaver Brook,” “Salmon River,” and so forth. Floating in a sea of blackness, these names become stars in the sky, constellations, and ghosts of our memories of places we holddear. In this work, she pays homage to the early inhabitants who left their marks on the maps.

Naoe’s participatory art project entitled Flow engages communities to think about our relationships with water, and asks participants to type their personal stories about water with a manual typewriter located in the exhibition space. In exchange, Naoe offers the participant an original piece of art from the installation for their stories. Incorporating a storytelling method, she provides and shares a space for rethinking and understanding our relationships with water and the environment we live in.

Naoe has received grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Massachusetts CulturalCouncil, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, Puffin Foundation, Artist’s Fellowships, Inc., and the Blanche E. Colman Award. Her residency fellowships include Blue Mountain Center, MacDowell Colony, Jentel, Millay Colony for the Arts, and Tokyo Wonder Site in Japan. Naoe’s appointments as an artist-in-residence include the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in 2016–2017, and Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University in 2013. She received an MFA in Interrelated Media from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 1997.

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