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Honoring a Diversity Champion

Honoring a Diversity Champion

On November 18, Liberty Bank presented Gail Myatt of Branford with the 2020 Willard M. McRae Community Diversity Award. Gail, well known for her work to open opportunities for young people in New Haven, received her award in a virtual celebration viewable at https://youtu.be/bZAg4bmD4lw.

“In choosing the recipient of the award, we look for someone who has enhanced the quality of life by raising awareness that diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice are sources of strength,” said David Glidden, president and CEO of Liberty Bank. “A person who builds relationships between different people, and enables them to view their differences as assets, not liabilities. Gail Myatt certainly fits that description.”

Allison Rivera, president of St. Martin de Porres Academy in New Haven, nominated Gail for the award and described how Gail’s leadership had impacted the students at the Academy. She noted that Gail is a member and past president of the New Haven chapter of The Links, Incorporated, a national service organization of women seeking to empower communities of color. “Gail is the person responsible for connecting the extraordinary women of The Links to St. Martin de Porres Academy,” she stated.

Allison went on to describe how the Links members had supported book scholarships, cultural activities, STEM education, and COVID-related needs for the students, who are disadvantaged children from the New Haven area. “These selfless acts of care and generosity help us to fulfill our mission of providing our students with the education and opportunities more readily available to their more resourced peers,” she said.

“It took no time at all to become committed to giving the valued resources of time and energy to this school,” said Gail. “St. Martin de Porres Academy is a model for how to reach and empower a diverse community through the core need of quality and impactful education. They prepare each student holistically to succeed in a diverse world—and what could be more important?”

In 2016, Gail and her husband, Kevin, founded the Myatt Center for Diversity and Inclusion at the University of New Haven. The Center seeks to promote cultural diversity, awareness, and sensitivity throughout the campus community.

As this year’s award recipient, Gail directed a $5,000 charitable donation from Liberty to the nonprofit organization of her choice. She selected Inextricably Bound (IB), a nonprofit community development organization that seeks to build community cohesion and bring educational resources to support young people in New Haven and Hamden. In accepting the donation, Rev. Keith A. King, founder/director of IB, said, “Gail is a quiet but relentless force in the community, and it is entirely fitting that she receive such an award.”

In closing, Gail said, “It has been said ‘In a sense, all life is interrelated. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality; tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly,’ We do indeed live in a diverse world, which finalizes its existence for each of us in our own communities.”

The award is named in honor of Willard M. McRae, a past chairman and board member of Liberty Bank. It is designed to recognize an individual who has been a leader in the communities served by Liberty Bank in connecting people who are different—whether those differences are of religion, race, ethnicity, economic status, age, or any other aspect of diversity.