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Two Duke Employees Win City Human Relations Awards
Durham, NC - The City of Durham recognized two Duke employees for their commitments to improving human relations among the people of Durham at their annual awards ceremony February 23.
In honor of Human Relations Month, the City's Human Relations Commission and the Human Relations Division of the City's Neighborhood Improvement Department hosted the 2012 Human Relations Award Ceremony.
Barbara Lau, executive director of the Pauli Murray Project, won the Carlie B. Sessoms Award, which is the highest and most coveted award to an individual or organization that has made a major impact on improving human relations in the City of Durham. This award commemorates contributions of the late Carlie B. Sessoms, a Durham native who served as chair of the Human Relations Commission and played a major role in improving human relations locally and nationally. Lau received this award because of her work as the executive director of the Pauli Murray Project at the Duke Human Rights Center and for her work with the community in organizing events and projects related to civil and human rights.
Durham City Council Member J. Michael Woodard won the Human Rights Award, which is presented to a local, state, or federal lawmaker who has successful supported or promoted human rights causes and issues. Woodard, an analyst for Duke's Administrative Systems Management office, received this award for his outstanding and dedicated service in support of human and civil rights issues throughout the Durham community. Woodard has stepped into a number of issues to fight for basic human rights and has lobbied and testified at the General Assembly. He also introduced the Human Relations Commission’s resolution against the Arizona Law and led the fight to defend Durham's use of the Matricula Consular. Woodard and his wife have also started a tutoring and mentoring program at their church, St. Titus Episcopal, tailored for children in the C.C. Spaulding neighborhood.
The city also recognized community members Stephanie Williams, a housing specialist for The Durham Center, and Mike Shiflett for their work on housing issues in Durham.