Human Rights Awards to be Presented on May 19


Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
703-324-3187, TTY 703-324-2935, FAX 703-324-2010

May 4, 2005

 

Human Rights Awards to be Presented on May 19

The Fairfax County Human Rights Commission will present its 28th annual Human Rights Awards to four residents, a faith-based non-profit organization and a global business with a local presence on Thursday, May 19, at 6:30 p.m. at the Sheraton Premiere at Tysons Corner, 8661 Leesburg Pike, Vienna. The guest speaker will be Lt. Col. Suzanne G. Devlin, deputy chief of police, Investigations/Operations Support.

The Human Rights Awards recognize outstanding accomplishments in the area of human rights in Fairfax County. Accomplishments may represent a single significant activity or long-term commitment displayed through various activities. The winners are selected from nominees representing three categories: individual residents, nonprofit organizations and businesses.

For more information or tickets for the awards banquet, call the Fairfax County Human Rights Commission at 703-324-2953, TTY 703-324-2900. Tickets are $50 per person and may be paid in advance or at the door. Reservations, however, need to be made by noon on Monday, May 16.

The Human Rights Commission was established in 1974 by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to eliminate discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, marital status, age or disability, in the areas of employment, housing, public accommodations, credit and education.

The 2004 Human Rights Award recipients in the individual category are:

Ernestine Heastie
Heastie has served as a public conscience to ensure all children, especially economically disadvantaged children, have an equal opportunity to flourish in an academic environment. Heastie has been a Head Start instructor for more than 24 years, and she served as the first Providence District member on Fairfax County’s elected School Board, also serving as vice chairman during her second term — a position she held for eight years. Heastie challenged the school system to increase minority achievement, to maintain diversity at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology and to ensure that a family’s economic condition would not deter students from attending summer school.

For more than 30 years, Heastie has also worked in a number of volunteer positions and has served as an appointee to several Fairfax County boards, authorities and commissions. She was the chairman of the Fairfax County Child Care Advisory Council, she served on the steering committee for the Fairfax Alliance for Human Services, and she served on the Virginia Council on Child Day Care and Early Childhood Programs. Heastie currently serves as the Providence District representative to the A. Heath Onthank Awards Committee. She is a longtime member of the Fairfax County branch of the NAACP, and in 2003 she received the NAACP Outstanding Leadership Award.

Rev. James Papile
Papile’s unique contribution has been in reaching out to recent immigrants and assisting them in settling into the community. He served on the steering committee that planned for the first Anglo-Vietnamese Episcopal congregation, and Papile was called as vicar of St. Patrick's Church in Falls Church in 1994. Anglos and Vietnamese now worship together in one service, which is conducted partly in English, partly in Vietnamese. Papile made an intentional effort to incorporate people from the Vietnamese community into leadership positions, including vestry, lay readers and Sunday school teachers. The congregation lived out the theory behind the vision: Each culture would be enriched by the other. The bicultural congregation continues to thrive today. This year, in conjunction with Reston Interfaith, to build on the existing ESL program, the congregation began hosting citizenship classes, pairing each participant with a mentor from the congregation. Papile currently works at St. Anne’s Church in Reston. He also leads an annual mission trip to the Dominican Republic.

Paula Prettyman and Kelly Schlageter
Equality Fairfax began with Prettyman and Schlageter and a clipboard at Capitol Pride in Washington, D.C. They were searching for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender residents from Fairfax County, which resulted in the first Equality Fairfax event — a picnic in Nottoway Park in July 2002. Their hard work and devotion to fostering and building this new group has created a vibrant organization with 900 gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender residents and allies in Fairfax County and the surrounding communities. At the end of January 2005, Equality Fairfax called a community meeting to provide an update on the anti-gay legislation under consideration in the Virginia General Assembly. Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald Connolly spoke words of encouragement to the 250 people gathered, showing how far Equality Fairfax has come in its brief three-year history. Prettyman also has appeared before the Board of Supervisors and the Virginia General Assembly to lobby for Fairfax County’s right to include sexual orientation in the County’s non-discrimination policy.

The 2004 Human Rights Award recipient in the nonprofit organization category is:

Fairfax Area Christian Emergency & Transitional Services Inc.
FACETS brings together faith-based communities, caring individuals, private businesses and public agencies to serve the needs of the homeless, near-homeless and low-income residents of Fairfax County. The staff and volunteers offer a continuum of services geared toward investing disadvantaged people with the dignity, self esteem and skills they need to improve their futures. FACETS provides shelter to the homeless and food to the hungry, tutors children and helps them with their homework, and mentors adults as they progress from welfare to work and from homelessness to home ownership. Last year, FACETS volunteers prepared and served more than 40,000 hot meals. The organization was founded 15 years ago by Linda Wimpy, who serves as its executive director. Carolyn McGee is president of its board of directors.

The 2004 Human Rights Award recipient in the business category is:

Booz Allen Hamilton
Booz Allen Hamilton was chosen for its extensive contributions to the Fairfax County community, including efforts to expand job opportunities for at-risk individuals and those with disabilities. Booz Allen supports Northern Virginia Family Services’ Training Futures Program, which targets unemployed and underemployed individuals; provides scholarships for George C. Marshall High School students who have overcome significant personal obstacles to graduate; supports George Mason University's Early Identification Program to encourage and support first generation college attendees; and created its Emerging Leaders summer internship program to bring more qualified individuals with disabilities into the workforce. In addition to ongoing volunteer efforts, Booz Allen continued its support of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays in the Washington, D.C. Area by sponsoring the organization's annual gala in March.

FAIRFAX COUNTY IS COMMITTED TO A POLICY OF NONDISCRIMINATION IN ALL COUNTY PROGRAMS, SERVICES AND ACTIVITIES AND WILL PROVIDE REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS UPON REQUEST. TO REQUEST SPECIAL ACCOMMODATIONS, CALL 703-324-3187, TTY 703-324-2935. PLEASE ALLOW FIVE WORKING DAYS IN ADVANCE OF EVENTS IN ORDER TO MAKE THE NECESSARY ARRANGEMENTS.

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