Barbara Amaya, Stephen Fowler, The Reading Connection, Animal Welfare League, and Doorways for Women and Families are this year’s winners of the 2014 James B. Hunter Human Rights Award, according to the Arlington Human Rights Commission.
The Hunter awards are named for the former County Board member who spent years in public service working on behalf of individuals with little access to government. The James B. Hunter Award recognizes sustained commitment and/or outstanding accomplishment in the area of human rights made in Arlington by an individual, community group, non-profit organization or business.
The awards will be presented at a public ceremony and reception on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014, from 7-9 p.m. in the Arlington County Board Room, 2100 Clarendon Blvd., Third Floor, Arlington. The public is invited to this free event.
The theme for this year’s event is “Working Towards a Violence-Free Community” and the keynote speaker is William Kellibrew IV, vice president for Strategic Partnerships for Mauldin Brand Agency.
ABOUT THE WINNERS:
Amaya is a long-time Arlington resident who was a victim of violence through human trafficking during her adolescence and early adulthood stages of her life. She has been able to turn her personal pain and suffering into advocacy against human trafficking and violence.
Fowler is the president of the board of directors of Legal Services of Northern Virginia, a non-profit entity committed to provide legal services to those who cannot afford an attorney in civil matters. He has gone beyond his policy commitments as president of the board, and volunteers his time representing victims of domestic violence in court, among others, to obtain protective orders.
The Animal Welfare League not only protects animals from violence but the stability of families and the safety of a spouse or a child. Studies have demonstrated that people who abuse pets are at an increased risk of becoming domestic abusers. Other studies have shown that almost half of the victims of domestic abuse — who need to leave their homes — fear for the safety of the pets and delay leaving. Pets play a significant part in the emotional stability and sometimes the physical safety of children and people who owned them.
Doorways for Women and Families is a provider of shelter and support services to victims of domestic violence. It provides immediate and long-term housing for women and families fleeing domestic violence and homelessness. It delivers support services aimed at helping women and families learn how to get back on their feet and live safe and independent lives. It advocates for changes that will help eliminate domestic violence and homelessness.
The Reading Connection has been serving Arlington County for more than 25 years, providing an array of literacy programs aimed at children at-risk and families. Creating a literacy-rich environment helps children succeed and serves as a long-term strategy to escape the cycle of poverty. Last year, The Reading Connection served 218 at-risk children in Arlington County, through its Read-Aloud program, and 118 parents through the Reading Family Workshops.