Arlington Names 2016 James B. Hunter Human Rights Winners

Published on November 03, 2016

  • Tiffany Joslyn (posthumously), Joan Ritter, Bridges to Independence, Edu Futuro, Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, Busboys and Poets — Shirlington

  • Public award ceremony and reception on Thursday, Dec. 8

  • Update: Watch video of the 2016 James B. Hunter Awards ceremony

Two distinguished public servant/volunteers, three celebrated non-profits and a business that serves up food, politics and literature are the recipients of the 2016 James B. Hunter Award, Arlington's highest human rights honor.

Tiffany Joslyn (posthumously), Joan Ritter, Bridges to Independence, Edu Futuro, Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington and Busboys and Poets — Shirlington were selected by a committee of the Arlington Human Rights Commission.

The award is named for the late James B. Hunter III, former Arlington County Board member and chair, who dedicated much of his life to serving those with few natural advantages in accessing government. A native Arlingtonian, retired Marine Corps major and businessman, he died in 1998 at the age of 58.

The James B. Hunter Award was established the next year to honor individuals, community groups, non-profit organizations and businesses that promote cultural diversity and equal rights for all residents.

"Those of us who knew Jim Hunter understand why he is still revered in Arlington for his civility and spirit of service, especially on behalf of those who may struggle to recognize their rights," said County Board Chair Libby Garvey. "This year's winners of the Hunter Award represent the best of Arlington by contributing to a community in which every member is valued and protected."

An awards ceremony for all of Arlington

The public is invited to the presentation of the Hunter awards at a free reception and ceremony on Thursday, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. in the Arlington County Board Room, 2100 Clarendon Blvd., Third Floor.

About the 2016 James B. Hunter Award winners

  • Tiffany Joslyn was an accomplished attorney and legal researcher, co-authoring influential studies on the appeals process and litigation while working for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. She later became a senior aide to the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations. As an Arlington resident, she was an energizing member of the County Human Rights Commission, giving particular focus to affirmative action along with housing and employment protections for those suffering mental illness. She also was committed to the Arlington Gay and Lesbian Alliance and dedicated to progressive local politics. Tiffany Joslyn died this year in Rhode Island in an automobile accident that also took the life of her brother. She was 33.

  • Joan Ritter, MD is a board-certified internist with senior academic and clinical roles at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. While also the parent of triplets — now teenagers — she's spent the better part of two decades volunteering with the Arlington Free Clinic, the County's sole comprehensive "safety-net" healthcare organization serving the poor and uninsured. Ritter is the volunteer medical director, implementing new approaches to care like managing chronic disease through electronic records and working with Virginia Hospital Center on the transitional treatment of discharged patients.

  • Bridges to Independence has been providing vital services to Northern Virginia homeless families and those at risk since 1985. The private non-profit works to break the inter-generational cycle of poverty through stable housing, the teaching of financial literacy and by providing time, resources and mentors to young people, who make up 60 percent of the Bridges client base. Formerly known as the Arlington-Alexandria Coalition for the Homeless, Bridges also operates Sullivan House, a short-term emergency shelter for families who, through intensive case management, are helped toward long-term solutions.

  • Edu Futuro empowers immigrant young people including Latinos to become next-generation professionals who will transform their communities. Working from an asset-based foundation, the non-profit provides a wide breadth of educational programs, leadership development and family engagement opportunities. Since its establishment in 1998, many Edu Futuro students have attended prestigious universities through full or significant scholarship packages. Several have been awarded the coveted White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics Award.

  • The Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington has been a spiritual community since 1945, working for the promotion of love, reason and freedom in religion. Cherishing diversity and mutual respect, the church has an established commitment to social justice, working through such projects as Voice, which builds power in area middle- and lower-income communities through issues ranging from affordable housing and healthcare to immigrant rights. The church also promotes human rights abroad (and at home) through its Guatemala Project and for three decades has supported Arlington's Culpepper Garden, the non-profit retirement community for low-income seniors that was founded in part by church members.

  • Busboys and Poets — Shirlington has established a multicultural environment for people to connect through art, literature, culture and politics over food and drink. Opened in 2007, the restaurant/bar/book store/gallery has become a vital gathering space in the Shirlington neighborhood, serving as a complement to the public library and Signature Theatre right across the street. The Busboys concept of community gathering place was created by artist and activist Anas "Andy" Shallal, who has established six such locations in the metro area.

Andy Shallal will be the keynote speaker at the Hunter award ceremony on Dec. 8.