James B. Hunter Human Rights Winners for 2021

Published on November 17, 2021

james b hunter award winners

James B. Hunter Human Rights Awards are given in recognition of outstanding achievement in the area of human rights and diversity made in Arlington County by an individual, a community group, a non-profit organization, or a business establishment.

This prestigious 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 Officer, and businessman, he died in 1998 at the age of 58.

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

The public is invited to a virtual awards ceremony to celebrate this year’s James B. Hunter honorees at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021.

2021 James B. Hunter Award Winners

  • Advent Lutheran Church: For the past 70 years, Advent Lutheran Church (ALC) has served as a voice for the voiceless and a refuge for the oppressed in Arlington County and beyond. ALC willingly puts on the mantle of servant leadership and continually answers the call to help those in need, advance diversity, and advocate for human rights on behalf of the residents of Arlington County.
  • Arlington Thrive:Arlington Thrive is the only organization in Arlington County that provides same-day, emergency financial assistance to County residents who experience sudden financial crises such as temporary unemployment or illness. Most clients are the working poor, elderly and disabled people on a fixed income, and the homeless and formerly homeless who need Arlington Thrive’s funds as a “safety net” until they can get back on firmer financial footing.
  • NAACP of Arlington #7047: The Arlington Branch NAACP has been at the very front of the advancement of racial and economic justice and equality in Arlington over the past many years. Without the local NAACP and the many hard-working, passionate volunteers dedicated to its cause, our county would clearly be worse off in its struggles for racial justice, diversity, and equality.
  • Offender Aid and Restoration (OAR): Founded in 1974, OAR is a community-based nonprofit that has served Arlington County for more than four decades, providing reentry readiness programming to residents at the Arlington County Detention Facility, working with men and women returning to the community from incarceration and offering alternative sentencing options through community service to youth and adults. Racial equity and an authentic commitment to dismantling racism in Arlington flow through every aspect of how OAR operates – from service delivery to legislative advocacy to internal operations to community education and even to fundraising strategies.
  • Les Garrison: Mr. Garrison has been awarded the 2021 James B. Hunter recipient because of his leadership efforts to ensure that all citizens of Arlington County had access to COVID-19 resources (testing and vaccinations). His actions during the pandemic to help coordinate volunteers have been a beacon of selflessness and optimism for Arlington.
  • Wilma Jones Killgo: Ms. Killgo is a fourth-generation resident of the Halls Hill-High View Park community in Arlington. She is a top-performing corporate information technology sales director, president of her own management consulting firm, a sought-after speaker, a moderator for various events, blogger, TV host, and author of three books, just to name a few of her accomplishments. Ms. Killgo has consistently been a community activist, currently serving her fourth term as president of the John M. Langston Citizens Association. She attributes her civic activism to her parents and other members of the Halls Hill community, who were actively involved in the Citizens Association. 

Human Rights Commission (HRC)

The Human Rights Commission handles complaints of discrimination in Arlington County. The Commission can take complaints of discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, credit and commercial real estate.

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