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The Morgantown Human Rights Commission is spotlighting local residents and organizations that exemplify the spirit of diversity and human rights in the community with its annual Human Rights Day Awards. The award winners for 2019 are Danielle Walker for the individual award and West Virginia Innocence Project for the group/organization award. The awards will be presented on Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. in the Morgantown City Council chambers located at 389 Spruce Street in Morgantown.
The awards will recognize contributions toward helping to make Morgantown a more inclusive community and to protect the human rights of all. Following the award presentation, an award program will take place at the Aull Center at 351 Spruce Street. The community is invited to attend the event and join the celebration of Human Rights Day as well as the Annual Human Rights Awards. Ronald L. Jones, Executive Director, West Virginia State Human Rights Commission will be speaking at the reception, and the award recipients will be recognized and will speak briefly about their experience.
Danielle Walker is a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, representing District 51. Walker was elected to the office in November 2018. Some of Walker’s priority issues include safe and affordable housing, union labor, the opioid crisis, education, and working families of West Virginia. She is a prominent community activist and human rights advocate.
The West Virginia Innocence Project (WVIP) aims to serve and to free people who are in prison for crimes they did not commit. They work to fix the problems that lead to wrongful convictions in the justice system and focus on those issues important to the people of West Virginia. WVIP is a legal clinic within the Clinical Law Program at WVU. Each year, students work at the WVIP to investigate potential wrongful convictions and gain practical skills. The WVIP serves those who were wrongly convicted in either state or federal court in West Virginia and does not charge for its services.
The purpose of the Human Rights Day Awards is to acknowledge outstanding works 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, Dec. 10 is recognized as International Human Rights Day.