Montgomery County’s Office of Human Rights will induct eight local leaders into its Human Rights Hall of Fame.
The ceremony was set for 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28, at BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown. Benjamin Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, will be the keynote speaker, county officials announced in a press release Monday.
The Human Rights Hall of Fame began in 2001 and has been held every other year since. More than 70 people have been inducted, including Germantown resident Betty L. Valdes. Valdes was recognized for her work in the Hispanic community where she helps residents gain equal access to housing, food, employment and education, Patch has reported.
This year’s inductees are (in alphabetical order):
- Karen Britto (Chevy Chase)—Former and first African American Chair of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee and former District 16 Delegate.
- Ann Chapman (Rockville)—For more than two decades, Chapman has operated the Helping Hands Shelter in Rockville. The shelter is a 24-hour emergency assistance center for women, helping thousands of women and children.
- Dr. Charlotte Coffield (Lyttonsville)—Dr. Coffield and her sister Gwen lobbied the county for urban renewal funds to be used to pave roads, provide running water and construct new homes. She was instrumental in saving Rosemary Hills Elementary School from closure. As president of the Lyttonsville Community Association, she successfully rallied her neighbors to fight a State proposal to locate a railroad yard and maintenance shop close to residences in the area that would have increased industrialization of the neighborhood.
- Dr. Judith R. Docca (Montgomery Village)—Elected to the Board of Education in 2006 and currently serving her second term, Dr. Docca led the charge in the 1990’s to save Montgomery County’s Head Start program. She was among the founders of the Montgomery County Alliance of Black School Educators in 1978.
- JC Hayward (Silver Spring)—A TV journalist, Hayward was Washington, DC market’s first female news anchor and is one of the region’s most well-known journalists.
- Susan C. Lee (Bethesda) – As a civil rights and women’s rights activist, Lee helped bring to the forefront important issues impacting minorities and women. Lee was the first Asian American woman elected to the Maryland General Assembly in 2002 and has been a champion legislator of civil rights and women issues.
- J. Thomas Manger (Rockville)—since 2004, Manger has served as Montgomery County’s Police Chief. As chairman of the Major Cities Chief’s Association, he testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration concerning comprehensive immigration reform, stressing that all persons—regardless of citizenship—have a right to expect police services and protection.
- Dr. Bernice R. Sandler (Chevy Chase)—Dr. Sandler has spent more than 50 years advocating for women’s rights. She has been a part of many “firsts” in the fight for gender equality. In 1970, she was the first person to testify before Congress about gender discrimination in education. She then became the first person appointed to staff a Congressional committee specifically on issues concerning women’s rights. In 1971, she wrote the first federal policy report regarding sex discrimination in education. As a result of these efforts, she was appointed to chair the first federal advisory committee on Women’s Educational Equity.
For a complete listing of inductees and for further information about the Human Rights Hall of Fame, go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/humanrights..