Human Rights Awards to Be Presented May 6

Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
Contact: Merni Fitzgerald, Director of Public Affairs
703-324-3187, TTY 711, Fax 703-324-2010
Media Pager: 703-324-NEWS (6397)

April 10, 2008

Human Rights Awards to Be Presented May 6

The Fairfax County Human Rights Commission will present its 30th annual Human Rights Awards at a reception on Tuesday, May 6, 6:30 p.m. at the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax.  The featured guest speaker will be Delegate Vivian Watts, who has served as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates since 1996.

The awards recognize individuals, nonprofits or businesses that demonstrate accomplishments in eliminating discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, marital status, age or disability in the areas of employment, housing, public accommodations, private education and credit.

The 2007 Fairfax County Human Rights Award recipients who will be celebrated at this event are:

Individual - Gerald V. Poje, Ph.D.
Gerald Poje has been a leader in the efforts to end homelessness.  Poje has played a key role in a number of organizations including the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax (UUCF), Fairfax Area Christian Emergency and Transitional Services (FACETS) and Faith Communities United for Housing (FCUH).  His participation has impacted many residents of Fairfax County directly and indirectly. He was instrumental in launching the UUCF-FACETS Supportive and Permanent Housing Project that raised $60,000 in order to build awareness of the county’s challenging poverty and housing issues.  He has mentored a number of individuals who have benefited from these organizations and now are active members in the community.

Business - Classic Tales 'n Tunes, LLC
Created in 2002 by Jody Katz, Tales 'n Tunes LLC is a dynamic and innovative program for children that teaches communication skills that emphasize inclusiveness, tolerance and group learning with the intention of removing the seeds of discrimination before they can take root.  More than 300 children and 200 adults participate in each quarterly session, adding up to about 1,000 individuals per year, in various community centers, preschools and child development centers throughout Fairfax County.

Organization - Vienna Presbyterian Church (VPC) English for Speakers of Other Languages Program (ESOL)
Since 2006, VPC's ESOL Program has provided English language classes to adults from 60 different countries. VPC offers flexible class schedules, multiple instructors per class, access to tutorsand mentors, and free child care during class time.  Additional classes in writing, conversation, U.S. citizenship test preparation and computer skills are also offered.  Taking their stewardship even further, VPC's ESOL Program successfully completed a U.S. Labor Department "Employment Access through Partnerships and Community Collaboration" grant. VPC continues also to maintain a collaborative relationship with Northern Virginia Community College and has sponsored several ESOL students by scholarship.

Virginia Peters Human Rights Award recipient:
Wilton Dickerson has championed the improvement of social and racial equality in Fairfax County for the past 50 years.  He has led a number of organizations that have helped shape many current county housing policies, including public housing and community development initiatives, such as home ownership programs, elderly housing, home improvement loans, home repair for qualified elderly and disabled, bond financing of affordable housing, administration of the HOME and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) fund to local nonprofit housing organizations, as well as neighborhood and commercial revitalization efforts.

The Human Rights Commission was established in 1974 by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

For further information about the reception and Human Rights Awards contact Wyvetta Hill at 703-324-2953, TTY 711.


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Fairfax County is committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in all county programs, services and activities. To request this information in an alternate format, call the Office of Public Affairs at 703-324-3187, TTY 711.


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