Former U.S. Attorney General Eric. H. Holder Jr. and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand are being presented with Dr. Phyllis Harrison-Ross “Champions of Change” Public Service Awards at the New York Society of Ethical Culture’s Champions of Change 2016 awards program May 5.

Holder is being honored for his work as the 82nd Attorney General of the United States until April 2015. He is now a partner at Covington & Burling LLP. Holder is the third-longest acting Attorney General in the U.S. and was the first African-American to hold the office.

Gillibrand, a recipient of the NYSEC 2016 Rising Star Dr. Phyllis Harrison-Ross Public Service Award, is being recognized for her work for reform in the military’s handling of sexual assaults, reform in the handling of college campus sexual assaults, advocacy for gay rights and equality for women.

The award is named in honor of Dr. Phyllis Harrison-Ross, who is current commissioner for the New York State Commission of Corrections and also a psychiatrist, pediatrician and public servant, particularly in the area of incarceration and community mental health. Harrison-Ross also chairs NYSEC’s Social Service Board.

“I am honored to have my name linked to this award, which gives well-deserved recognition to those who fight for civic good every day,” she said. “We are proud to honor Mr. Holder and Ms. Gillibrand for their work for the people of the United States.”

Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Zachary W. Carter, corporate counsel for the New York City Law Department and Michael Eric Dyson, author, professor and commentator, are paying tribute to Holder at the event while Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer is paying and to Gillibrand.

Holder and Gillibrand will participate in an onstage interview with NBC News correspondent Harry Smith. WNBC 4 co-anchor David Ushery will moderate.

Honorary chairs include 2014 honoree and former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, environmentalist Jeffrey Sachs, Congressman Charles Rangel and Dr. Anne Klaeysen, leader of NYSEC.

This year’s award program benefits the Supportive Televisiting Service, a flagship program of the NYSEC affiliate, United Social Services, Inc. Since 2012, STS has connected hundreds of children in the New York area with their hospitalized or incarcerated parents or grandparents through live-streaming video.

“In the age of mass incarceration, this program is preventing behavioral and emotional problems in the children of incarcerated parents and reducing the trauma of family separation,” said Harrison-Ross. “The proceeds from our program will greatly help us continue to provide this service to many families and to expand our training program designed to coach medical, pastoral and lay professionals on how to utilize this technology.”

For tickets, go to or call 212-874-5210.