James B. Hunter Award

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. Applications should reflect the human rights achievements on an individual basis, through work with others, or through a specific example(s), product(s), or activity that must have some visible, tangible or measurable impact on the perception of, attitude toward, respect for, and treatment of other people. The award is named for former Arlington County Board member James B. Hunter, who dedicated many years to helping under-served groups access government services designed to protect their rights.

The 22nd Annual James B. Hunter Awards

The award ceremony this year is Thursday, December 9, 2021, The awards are selected by the Arlington County Human Rights Commission. The James B. Hunter Award goes to individuals, community groups, non-profit organizations and business establishments that promote cultural diversity and equal rights for all residents. 

Watch the 22nd Annual James B. Hunter Awards

About the 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, Virginia 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 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


Program Criteria

1. Individual Achievement Award

To be presented to an individual who has:

  • demonstrated dedication and commitment to promoting civil and advocating and protecting civil and human rights;
  • led the development of contemporary measures to fight discrimination and prejudice and the effects of past discrimination; and/or
  • fostered positive intergroup relations among persons of different races, ages, ethnic origin, gender, religious backgrounds, or physical and mental abilities.

2. Business and Industry Awards

To be presented to a business or industry that has:

  • developed and implemented an effective equal opportunity/ affirmative action program as demonstrated by a diversified workforce in which all persons are afforded opportunities for employment and upward mobility, regardless of race, ethnic origin, gender, religion, color, age, sexual orientation, disability, or any other prohibited basis of discrimination; and
  • demonstrated their corporate responsibility by devoting resources for the improvement of the community at large.

3. Community Groups UPS and Non-Profit Organizations

To be presented to a community group or non-profit organization that has:

  • demonstrated sustained commitment to the raising of the level of awareness and concern for violation of human rights;
  • advocating the development and improvement of legal mechanisms to protect basic civil and human rights;
  • educated and informed persons of their civil and human rights; and/or
  • led affirmative action efforts to bring full equality of opportunity.

4. Educational Organizations 

To be presented to educational organizations that promote civil and human rights, including:

  • Students
  • Teachers
  • School groups and other educational organizations

James B. Hunter Award Nomination Form

Past Winners


  • Walter Tejada
  • Joan Trumpauer Mulholland
  • Arlington League of Women voters
  • Ethiopian Community Development Council
  • Black Parents Association
  • Sean Bender-Prouty


  • Awesome Women Entrepreneurs (AWE)
  • Marty Swaim
  • Arm & Arm
  • Jay Fisette


  • Cafe Sazon
  • Freddie’s Beach Bar
  • Eric Schaeffer
  • Building Bridges
  • Saint George’s Episcopal Church


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


  • Leni Gonzalez
  • Nauk Civic Association
  • Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church
  • Hogar Immigrant Services


  • Barbara Amaya
  • Stephen Fowler
  • The Animal Welfare League
  • Doorways for Women and Families
  • The Reading Connection


  • Leslie Alden
  • Richard Cobb
  • Thomas Kelley
  • Margaret Patterson


  • Wakefield High School’s Project Upstanders
  • Washington-Liberty High School’s Best Buddies Club
  • Sara Heisey
  • John “Kip” Laramie


  • Buckingham Youth Brigade
  • James Scruggs
  • Pauline A. Ellison
  • Bob Witeck


  • Barrett Elementary School: Project Interaction
  • Dr. Thomas “Tom” Connally
  • Julia “Judy” Connally
  • Arlington Coalition Against Secure Communities Program


  • Elizabeth Wildhack, Esq.
  • Rev. Madeline Jervis
  • Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
  • Arlington Food Assistance Center


  • Dr. Robert G. Smith, Superintendent, Arlington Public Schools
  • Moore’s Barber & Beauty Shop
  • Legal Services of Northern Virginia


  • Bonnie M. Ryan
  • Cheryl Ann Spector (posthumously)
  • Arlington Free Clinic


  • Rhonda Buckner
  • Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network
  • Susan Prokop
  • Washington Shakespeare Company


  • John Robinson
  • Verizon Communications, Inc.
  • Clarendon Presbyterian Church
  • Doorways for Women and Families


  • Andres Tobar
  • Potomac Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind
  • Café Asia
  • Leadership Arlington


  • Betsy S. Greer
  • Charles P. Monroe (posthumously)
  • Willians Silva
  • ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia, Inc.


  • Dr. Margaret Wilson
  • Mr. Charles Rinker
  • SOC Enterprises
  • MTFA Architecture, Inc.


  • Thuy Nguyen
  • Albert C. Eisenberg
  • Nevares Associates
  • Marasco Newton Group


  • Voncille Trotter Hines
  • Dr. Emma Violand – Sanchez
  • Whitman – Walker Clinic


  • Lawrence J. Latto
  • The Arlington Gay & Lesbian Alliance
  • Arlington Hospital
  • Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.