Lawrence History Center honors the Silverio family with the 2024 Eartha Dengler History Award

On Thursday, June 20, 2024, over 200 people gathered at Central Catholic High School in Lawrence to honor the Silverio family with the Lawrence History Center 2024 Eartha Dengler History Award

Summary of the evening (with video time stamps):

[00:06] Félix Pandora performed a special song for Julia and Dario Silverio entitled, "La Juventud se Va (Youth is passing by)," by Sandro de America

[02:41] LHC executive director Susan Grabski thanked Félix Pandora for providing the music for the evening. Grabski welcomed guests and explained that, "The award is named after Lawrence History Center founder Eartha Dengler, a German immigrant who founded the organization as the Immigrant City Archives in 1978. She thought that the stories of the people of Lawrence were worth saving and, 46 years later, we agree. And so does Eartha’s family. Her daughter Claudia is here with us tonight and we thank her for coming... " 

Grabski offered an expression of gratitude, on behalf of the LHC board of directors, to the Silverio family. She thanked event sponsors, student volunteers from Central Catholic and Unidos Academy, and all who made the event possible with emphasis given to the help provided by Yadira Betances Muldoon. She thanked Mendez Flowers for the beautiful centerpieces, photographers Steven Perlmutter and Robert Lussier, Quality Catering of MA, and Central Catholic High School for hosting the event.  A listing of all contributors may be found at

[06:51] Central Catholic High School president Chris Sullivan welcomed guests and provided history about the founding of the school. He expressed that the Silverio family "have been making a difference in our city of Lawrence for an awfully long time and we are so glad that they are members of our Central Catholic family and have been for many years."

[09:00] Presentation of citations by elected officials:

  • [09:49] Senator Pavel M. Payano, 1st Essex
  • [15:46] Anna Medina, on behalf of Representative Frank A. Moran, 17th Essex
  • [17:00] Nestor Castillo, on behalf of Lawrence Mayor Brian A. DePeña
  • [18:53] Ana Levy, Councilor-at-large, Lawrence City Council
  • [20:15] Marc Laplante, District F, Lawrence City Council (w/City Councilors Wendy Luzon and Fidelina Santiago)

[24:55] Blessing by Fr. Jorge Reyes, O.S.A.

[28:55] Following dinner, LHC executive director Susan Grabski opened the award ceremony and shared that the Lawrence History Center began giving the Eartha Dengler History Award back in 1998 to spotlight the efforts of and accomplishments of outstanding leaders whose talents bring development, opportunity, and that have enriched Lawrence in tangible ways. The Silverio family was nominated by LHC board member Stelvyn Mirabal. Upon accepting the honor, Julia Silverio, the family's matriarch, expressed that, "We are grateful for this opportunity to highlight our family. We hope this will motivate many other families to continue to grow and stay involved in our city."

The following summary describes the reasons that led to the nomination this year:

Unwavering Commitment to Lawrence

From Dominican Republic to Lawrence’s Daisy and Eutaw Streets, Julia and Dario Silverio raised a family and built a home in Lawrence. A non-traditional dynamic, Julia started multiple businesses — a salon, a bakery, tax preparation, travel and insurance agencies, support services for new immigrants — and engaged in political life. Dario started the Dominican parade and, forever a quiet force and partner, believed in Julia while being present for their children — Yarel, Aliali, and Evan — and teaching them in experiential and impactful ways.

Their family grew during Lawrence’s transition to a majority Latino city. Weekends were spent at the Dominican social club Los Trinitarios, St. Mary’s Church, the Lawrence Public Library, playing sports in city parks, dancing on the Common and at the Semana Hispana parade — celebrating their language and culture while always finding ways to be leaders and catalysts for good in Lawrence.

Together, by example and in community, Julia and Dario instilled values of entrepreneurship, hard work, advocacy and activism, faith, and education. Always having a home to return to, their children were given the assurance that they belong wherever the road takes them, the ability and desire to make the path better for others, and the courage to tell the positive stories about growing up in the city they love — Lawrence — for generations.

[36:40] Grabski introduced speaker Jessica Andors to pay tribute to the Silverio family. Jessica is a family friend, the executive director of Lawrence CommunityWorks, and the 2008 Eartha Dengler History Award Recipient.

[45:31] Grabski introduced speaker Yadira Betances Muldoon to pay tribute to the Silverio family. Yadira is a family friend and the 2022 Eartha Dengler History Award Recipient.

[48:50] Muldoon introduced video tribute by Domenic Marte. Domenic Marte is a Lawrence native and bachata arrist/performer.

[50:34] Grabski introduced speaker Benny Espaillat to pay tribute to the Silverio family. Benny and his wife Mory are family friends and the 2014 Eartha Dengler History Award Recipients.

[57:30] Grabski introduced speaker Claudia Dengler, daughter of founder Eartha Dengler and honorary LHC board member, to present the 2024 Eartha Dengler History Award to the Silverio family. Claudia shared her experience as the first child in her family born in America. She was raised as a culturally German child, her first language was German and she learned English when she went to school. Addressing the Silverio family directly, she said, "What I think you embody so beautifully  is that You can love your own culture and honor it and respect it, and yet be fully American and committed to making your community the kind of place you want to live in... "

The following members of the Silverio family accepted the honor:

  • [1:02:12] Yarel Silverio Marshall
  • [1:09:16] Aliali Silverio Belkus
  • [1:17:53] Evan Silverio
  • [1:21:33] Dario Silverio
  • [1:32:36] Julia Silverio

[1:50:35] Closing performance by Asociacion Carnavalesca de Massachusetts (thanks to Stelvyn Mirabal and his crew)