Germantown Resident Inducted into Human Rights Hall of Fame
Betty L. Valdes was recognized for her work in the Hispanic community at a ceremony at BlackRock Center for the Arts on Sunday.
Betty L. Valdes, a Germantown resident, was inducted into the Montgomery County Human Rights Hall of Fame on Sunday. Valdes was one of six inductees honored for outstanding humanitarian work in Montgomery County in a ceremony held at the BlackRock Center for the Arts.
Valdes was recognized for her work in the Hispanic community where she helps residents gain equal access to housing, food, employment and education. She said education has always been her passion because it helped people get ahead in life. She is currently partnering with different organizations to get students of Hispanic origin ready for college.
According to the 2010 government census reports, there are 5,660 Hispanic individuals living in Germantown, making up 10.2 percent of the total population.
Valdes says receiving the award was great, but that is not what she was looking for when she got involved in the community. She was only doing what her parents taught her by example. Born to immigrant parents who helped in their community, she says she understood what it felt like to leave one's friends and family to look for a better life.
For the soft-spoken Valdes, giving back to the community is a part of who she is. She plans to keep on helping minorities achieve the "American Dream" through education and community involvement.
"I see it as part of me and I cannot get away from that," Valdes said.
Keynote speaker and State of Maryland Office for Civil Rights Director Carl Snowden reminded attendees of the 11-week civil rights campaign at Glen Echo Park. He asked attendees to hold hands and tell neighbors they loved each other, reflecting that such a sense of cross-racial camaraderie would have been impossible 50 years ago. Snowden then remarked that the battle for human rights was far from over.
Other inductees on Sunday were Esther R. Delaplaine, Warren Fleming, Dr. Suresh K. Gupta, MD, Henry Hailstock and Monsignor Ralph Kuehner.
Other notable inductees into the Montgomery County Human Rights Hall of Fame include Ms. Eunice Kennedy Shriver in 2001 and Rose Kramer, who played an integral role in the desegregation of schools.
Inductees are nominated by the community and selected by a panel of judges. Both nominations and inductions may be made posthumously.