The Orange County Human Relations Commission is holding the 31st Annual Pauli Murray Awards on Sunday, February 28, 2021 from 3:00-5:00 pm via Zoom Webinar. The award is presented annually to an Orange County adult, youth, and/or business that embody the attributes and spirit of Dr. Pauli Murray by serving the community with distinction in the pursuit of equality, justice, and human rights for all citizens.
This year’s ceremony will honor Quinton Harper as the adult awardee, Savannah Clay (pictured) as the youth awardee, and Present Day on Main as the business awardee.
Quinton Harper is the team leader for Activate! IFC, a voting and advocacy project with the local Inter-Faith Council for Social Service, and he also chairs the Affordable Housing Commission and Human Services Board in Carrboro.
Savannah Clay is a senior at Orange High School and serves as President of the Minorities Achievement Program and is a leading member of the Equity Team at her school.
Sophie Suberman and Soteria Shepperson co-own Present Day on Main, a coffee shop in Carrboro that infuses social justice, equity and hope by diversifying their customer base, being intentional about using art to invite community and justice while making sure coffee and tea are served.
The keynote address will be given by Nikki Giovanni, poet, Fisk University graduate, and a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech. Through more than two dozen volumes of poetry, essays, books, and other works, Nikki has raised awareness of social issues of race and gender through writing. Among Nikki's numerous accomplishments are an unprecedented 7 NAACP Image Awards, a Grammy nomination, a finalist for the National Book Award, over 20 honorary degrees, and 3 New York Times and Los Angeles Times Best Sellers, which is highly unusual for a poet.
Appearances will be made by Jaki Shelton Green and Alani Rouse. Green is the ninth Poet Laureate of North Carolina, teaches Documentary Poetry at Duke University Center for Documentary Studies, and has been named the 2021 Frank B. Hanes Writer in Residence at UNC Chapel Hill. Rouse is a poet from Orange County poet and Psychology major at UNC-Greensboro whose work explores themes of social issues, blackness, sexuality, and identity.
Join us to honor the legacy of Dr. Pauli Murray and show appreciation for this year’s winners and the quality contributions they make to Orange County. Registration is required: orangecountync.gov/PauliMurray.