- Leslie Alden, Richard Cobb, Thomas Kelley and Margaret Patterson honored
- Public invited to Dec.12 award ceremony
ARLINGTON, Va. – Four individuals were selected as winners of the 2013 James B. Hunter Human Rights Award, the Arlington Human Rights Commission announced.
Leslie Alden, Richard Cobb, Thomas Kelley and Margaret Patterson are this year's winners of the Hunter award, 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.
“It is our honor to recognize these outstanding individuals,” said Arlington County Board Chairman J. Walter Tejada. “Their efforts are so important – every day, they are helping to make Arlington a more diverse and inclusive community. I am grateful that we have such passionate people in our community who have dedicated their lives to helping others. Kudos also to the Human Rights Commission for continuing to recognize our community heroes every year.”
Public invited to awards ceremony
The awards will be presented at a public ceremony and reception from 7-9 p.m. on Thursday, December 12, 2013 in the Arlington County Board Room, 2100 Clarendon Blvd., Third Floor, Arlington, VA. The public is invited to this free event.
The event's keynote speaker is Faiza Mathon-Mathieu, Director of Public Policy and Government Relations for ECPAT-USA (End Child Prostitution and Trafficking). ECPAT is the leading policy organization fighting the commercial sexual exploitation of children.
About the winners
- The Hon. Leslie M. Alden is a former Fairfax County Circuit judge who has spent her career devoted to gender rights and access to justice for all. Judge Alden has written about – and been involved with — human rights issues locally, nationally and internationally. She had advocated for both equality and the protection of children from exploitation and human trafficking. After retiring from the bench in 2012, Judge Alden is now a member of the George Mason University Law School, teaching these values to future lawyers.
- When Pastor Richard Cobb joined the Arlington's Central United Methodist Church in in 1998, he opened up the church to homeless persons. He created a drop-in meals program that has grown to serve 120 individuals every week. By partnering with Arlington County's Department of Human Services and A-SPAN, the individuals are able to receive mental health services, employment counseling and case management. He serves on the Leadership Council of Arlington's Consortium to Prevent and End Homelessness and is a tireless advocate for homeless individuals in the community.
- A resident of Arlington County for more than 20 years, Thomas Kelley has dedicated his life to ensuring that schools provide equal access to children with disabilities; he currently heads the Office of Rehabilitation Services within the U.S. Department of Education. In addition to working on disability issues, Mr. Kelley services as vice president of the International Initiative to End Child Labor, which advocates for protection of children to be free from all forms of exploitation, including forced labor and human trafficking. As a quadriplegic, Mr. Kelley is a role model who challenges people's misperceptions that persons with disabilities cannot contribute to society at large.
- Margaret Patterson is the Executive Director of the Child and Family Network Centers (CFNC), and her lifetime commitment has been to children and families. For more than 30 years, she has provided opportunities to abused children and their families, including successful start-ups of two nonprofits providing direct services to abused children.