Local student receives Father Jerome Toner Award from Saint Martin's
Thursday, May 29, 2003
Lacey, Wash. - Aaron Bonifield, a Saint Martin’s
College senior from Olympia, is the recipient of the college’s 2002-03
Father Jerome Toner Award for achievements in social activism.
Bonifield’s name will be inscribed on a plaque. The
honor also comes with subscriptions to The Catholic Worker magazine and
The Nation magazine.
The award, presented by the college’s social science
division to a student who works to comfort the afflicted and afflict the
comfortable, was inspired by Saint Martin’s monk Father Jerome Toner,
O.S.B., (1899-1977), an internationally recognized labor scholar and
activist. Toner, often called “The Labor Priest,” at Saint Martin’s,
served as a member of President Harry Truman’s International Labor
Organization in Switzerland and as a grassroots labor organizer among
the downtrodden of Brooklyn. Despite raising the ire of management, he
persisted in fighting for the rights of workers and their rightful place
in the economic world.
Bonifield, who is majoring in sociology/cultural
anthropology and biology, was chosen for his unflagging work on issues
of peace and social justice on campus and locally.
“Aaron’s work in the local peace movement and his
efforts to infuse the campus with a spirit of political activism carries
on Father Jerome’s proud tradition of feather ruffling,” said David
Price, Ph.D., who chairs the college’s sociology/cultural anthropology
Besides working with the area peace movement,
Bonifield founded and was elected president of the campus’ Social Action
Club. He also was part of a group from Saint Martin’s who traveled to
San Francisco in January for an anti-war rally. He and other club
members staffed informational tables on campus and planned other
activities to promote peace and social justice.
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