Morgantown Human Rights Commission Changes Dates for Annual Awards CeremonyUPDATE: The Human Rights Commission Awards Ceremony dates have been changed. The awards will be presented on Dec. 15 and a ceremony will take place on Dec. 17.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Morgantown Human Rights Commission is spotlighting residents and organizations that exemplify the spirit of diversity and human rights in the community with its annual Human Rights Day Awards. The 2020 individual award winner is Mavis Grant-Lilley and the group/organization award goes to First Presbyterian Church. The awards will be presented on Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. during the Morgantown City Council meeting.
The awards recognize contributions toward helping to make Morgantown a more inclusive community and to protect the human rights of all. Award recipients will be recognized at a special ceremony on Dec. 17 at 5:30 p.m. in front of the Monongalia Arts Center on High Street. West Virginia Delegate Danielle Walker is the keynote speaker, and the award recipients will speak briefly about their experience. The event will also be streamed live on the Human Rights Commission’s Facebook page. The community is invited to view the event online and celebrate Human Rights Day.
Mavis Grant-Lilley has made many contributions to human rights and community service organizations for many years. She was instrumental in starting the Empty Bowls program to raise funding to provide food and nutrition to food pantries and reduce food insecurity of local families. With her husband, she established the Community Enhancement Fund at Your Community Foundation contributing to local nonprofit agencies. In the 1980s, she started an interfaith mental health counselling service. She serves as chairperson for Morgantown area Meals on Wheels and was the 2019 recipient of the Martin Luther King Achievement Award for advocacy toward equality. Mavis has long championed causes for the LGBTQ community, organizing the local chapter of PFLAG (Parents & Families of Lesbian and Gay) and the LGBTQ program at First Presbyterian Church. She continues to serve on numerous boards promoting advocacy, assistance, and acceptance for all people.
First Presbyterian Church of Morgantown is an inclusive congregation celebrating diversity of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ability, age, economic and life situations. The church serves the community through numerous outreach programs and partnerships with important local organizations. The church’s services include growing food at church property for distribution at food programs and food banks, providing a Pancake Breakfast every Sunday feeding 80-100 houseless persons, offering a Warm Room during cold months, and providing support for in-need and hunger insecure community members. The Church’s Presbyterian Child Development Center is the largest non-profit daycare center in the city and serves approximately 100 children. Most notable is the sponsorship of Walk4WV in which Rev. Zac Morton walked from Morgantown to Charleston to highlight and create awareness of needs of houseless persons. They also partner with Empty Bowls, Greater Morgantown Interfaith Association, Appalachian Prison Book Project, Christian Help, PFLAG, Pantry Plus More, Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and many more organizations.
The purpose of the Human Rights Day Awards is to acknowledge outstanding work taking place in Morgantown and those who put forth the effort to make a difference and working toward the global purpose of Human Rights. These award recipients have provided outstanding leadership in the support and advocacy of human rights and have enabled the city to become a more inclusive community.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was a shout across the world by the leading countries in the world, stating loud and clear that no matter where we live, what we believe, or how we love, we are each individually deserving of the most basic respect for human needs. Every year Human Rights Day marks conferences around the world dedicated to ensuring that these ideals are pursued, and that the basic Human Rights of every person is made a priority in the global community. This year, International Human Rights Day is recognized on Dec. 10.
The purpose of the Human Rights Commission is to provide leadership for addressing community interaction and fairness concerns. It works to ensure that the city is not only providing services but maintaining ways in which a community can live together inclusively, functionally, and justly despite differences, complexities, and conflicts. The Commission focuses on stewardship and service, but also on the quality of community life and the protection of the community from preventable unfair damage to the lives of individual citizens and families.