One of the most rewarding experiences in being a member of The Inquirer Editorial Board is each year selecting our Citizen of the Year.
The public submits nominations, and it’s illuminating to find out who they think has made an important, lasting contribution to society.
This award is not intended to ratify celebrity or power. It is meant to honor actions that exemplify citizenship in its broadest, best sense. It recognizes deeds that have helped neighborhoods, the region, or the nation in an effective and creative way, while demonstrating integrity, perseverance, and fair-mindedness.
The 2004 winner was former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean Sr., who was cited for his brave, steady leadership of the 9/11 Commission.
Three grassroots activists — Timothy Potts, Eugene Stilp and Russell Diamond — won the 2005 award for leading the successful public revolt against the Pennsylvania legislators’ sneaky pay raise.
For 2006, the Rev. Dr. W. Wilson Goode Jr., Philadelphia’s former mayor, was cited for Amachi, his program that mentors children with incarcerated parents.
Community leader Helen Gym, who has been a tireless voice in support of improving public schools in Philadelphia, was the 2007 Citizen of the Year.
And for 2008, it was Harry S. Pozycki, a former Common Cause director who has been on a personal mission to get more New Jersey citizens involved in local government.
Who should be the 2009 Citizen of the Year? It could be someone in medicine, business, education, arts and culture, neighborhood development, science, even sports.
Nominate anyone you think worthy. Include a short statement explaining who the person is and why you think he or she should be Citizen of the Year.