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
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
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.