The Prince William County Human Rights Commission recently held its annual Universal Human Rights Day Celebration to recognize those within the community who promote the principles of human rights.
Neabsco District Supervisor John D. Jenkins welcomed everyone to the event on behalf of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors. "We all on the board join you in our support of the human rights effort in the county. These people that we honor today are people that have been nominated … throughout the entire county and their qualifications have been recognized."
The 2017 Human Rights Award recipients are:
- Dr. Marvette Thomas who raised more than $25,000 that went toward elementary and middle school mentoring programs, health initiatives and $1,000 scholarships for 10 graduating students in Prince William and Stafford counties.
- Iyana Cones who worked to bring the Sparkle Effects program to Osbourn Park High School, which is only the second school in the state to add the program that brings together school-based cheerleading and dance teams of students with and without disabilities.
- Prince William Police Maj. Jarad Phelps who started the Stay True to Blue police academy course for police cadets to give them real-life exposure to community issues and gives examples of how the police and the community can work together.
- Richmond Hill who started the Man Up program at the Northern Virginia Community College campuses in the county. The program promotes and creates access to supportive relationships for minority men to overcome barriers to college graduation by providing mentors who help with academic skill building, monthly success coaching, networking opportunities, character-building workshops, social and athletic events and service learning projects.
- Todos Market, which offered its parking lot as a venue for a multi-cultural festival. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Human Rights Office and Todos worked together to organize and stage the celebration. Todos was recognized for its willingness to serve the community without hesitation.
- Delegate Robert Marshal, the Alliance to Save Carver Road and NAACP First Vice President, EJ Scott, worked with the county government to deter Dominion Virginia Power's bid to build a transmission line along Carver Road, a historically African-American community in the western end of Prince William County.
- The Prince William County Office of Elections and the Electoral Board which pushed for early voting through a campaign to inform the public of the acceptable reasons people could vote absentee. Their efforts were successful and lines were shorter during the last election.
Rabbi Israel Zoberman, of congregation Beth Chaverim in Virginia Beach, spoke at the event and said that human dignity is "one and indivisible" and that people recognized at the awards ceremony represented the principles of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The mission of the Prince William County Human Rights Office is "to eliminate discrimination through civil and human rights law enforcement and to establish equal opportunity for all persons within the county through advocacy and education." More information about the Human Rights Office can be found at www.pwcgov.org/humanrights.