Human Rights Awards to Be Presented May 15, 2012


The Fairfax County Human Rights Commission will present its 33rd annual Human Rights Awards at a ceremony on Tuesday, May 15, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. at Fairfax County Government Center’s Forum.  The Fairfax County Government Center is located at 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, Virginia.  The guest speaker will be Mr. Greg Scarlatoiu, Executive Director of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK).

At HRNK, Mr. Scarlatoiu plans, coordinates, manages and conducts research and outreach programs aiming to focus world attention on human rights abuses in North Korea, and to seek creative solutions for improving the human rights situation. He has authored a weekly radio column broadcast by Radio Free Asia to North Korea for eight years.  He has written articles for publications including Global Asia and KEI’s Korea Insight and Korea Exchange.  He has lived in Seoul for 10 years and is fluent in Korean, French and Romanian.  He holds a MA in international relations from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, and Seoul National University, and a BA in international relations from Seoul National University. In 1999, Scarlatoiu was conferred the title of Citizen of Honor, City of Seoul.

This event is one of many conducted by the County and the County’s Human Rights Commission that celebrates the diversity of Fairfax County and our enduring efforts to make this area a home for all people from all walks of life.  A light buffet and beverages will be served from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm, and the awards ceremony beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Board Auditorium.  Although reservations are not necessary, we would like to plan for your attendance.  Please contact the Fairfax County Office of Human Rights at (703) 324-2953.

The 2011 award winners are:

Northern Virginia Resource Center

The Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons (NVRC) works to reduce disability discrimination in Fairfax County by providing resources, education, advocacy to remove barriers against those with the inability to hear, hear well, or communicate vocally.  Deaf and hard of hearing people who live and work in Fairfax County are enabled to achieve full community involvement, most especially as citizens exercising their right to “hear and be heard” in county government proceedings, as a direct result of NVRC’s initiatives.  NVRC works with diverse groups to ensure events such as the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meetings are close captioned on video monitors and cable broadcasts which also benefit those for whom English is a second language.  NVRC has collaborated with educational institutions, Fairfax Office of Emergency Management, Medical Reserve Corps, Public Safety, and organizations that manage public transportation in the County.  Their efforts include educating leaders in critical areas on building awareness for the challenges faced by those with hearing difficulties, and for organizations’ legal obligations to provide reasonable accommodation.  Their collaborative approach has built in-roads to foster long term relationships between County services and deaf and hard of hearing persons that enhance the quality of life for all.

Tahirih Justice Center

Based in Falls Church, the Tahirih Justice Center’s staff and volunteers provide life-saving, holistic legal services to woman and girls fleeing gender-based violence and seeking justice.  This non-profit organization offers programs and services that advocate for their legal rights, and support through counseling.  The Center has developed a powerful public policy campaign by leveraging an extensive amount of donated professional services.  Tahirih has formalized a Pro Bono Attorney Network that includes hundreds of attorneys who represent women from across the entire spectrum of Fairfax County residents.  The Center has additionally created a Public Policy advisors group that helps to shape local policy, and change laws that bring about legal change to protect women and girls from violence.

Marlene Blum

Marlene Blum has been awarded the Virginia Peters Fair Housing Award for her decades of advocacy for the homeless and near homeless of Fairfax County.  She has served as a community spokesperson on preventing homelessness, ensuring healthcare for all, implementing excellence in schools, growing competency in early childhood services, provide loving health care for the elderly, pursuing better money management skills for those with minimal incomes, providing services for disabled, increasing access to services, and ensuring affordable housing.  Marlene is a founding member and long-time leader of the Alliance for Human Services (AHS) organization.  Her service has included serving on the committee for Health Care Advisory Board, which she has chaired since 1988; Fairfax County HIV/AIDS task force; and appointed by the Governor of Virginia to serve on the Health and Human Services Task Force as a citizen representative.  It can be said with validation that many residents of Fairfax County, from the very young to the very old, live more fulfilling lives because of Marlene.

 

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For more news and information, contact the Fairfax County Office of Human Rights at (703) 324-2953


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