December 15, 2022

27th Annual Human Rights Awards Honor Local Community Members

The Virginia Beach Human Rights Commission held its 27th Annual Human Rights Awards Ceremony on Thursday, December 8 at the Virginia Beach Convention Center.

After much deliberation and discussion, the commission selected seven honorees whose efforts promote cultural diversity, social awareness, equal opportunity, and human rights in our community.

Congratulations to these amazing individuals and groups:

  • Virginia Beach Cultural Affairs Department
    The city of Virginia Beach Cultural Affairs department received this award for its work in fostering inclusivity in Virginia Beach through the lens of the arts and humanities and demonstrating a commitment to furthering human rights in the community through the daily work of its staff, and a wonderful cadre of volunteers.
  • Arnel Custodio
    Arnel Custodio received this award for his extensive volunteerism in the Virginia Beach community and the Hampton Roads area. He has volunteered his time to organizations such as Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and YWCA. Arnel is a man who truly cares about all of his community and seeks no recognition or thanks for his efforts on behalf of others.
  • Hampton Roads Business Outreach (HRBOR)
    Hampton Roads Business Outreach (HRBOR) received this award for their work in empowering and supporting the LGBTQ+ community, allied member businesses, and professionals, and providing our community with an inclusive and welcoming environment to live, work and grow.
  • Evan Nied
    Evan Nied received this award for his work as the founder of Planting Shade, a nonprofit that has planted about 12,000 trees in the United States and as far away as Costa Rica and collaborates with educators so that environmental education is open to everyone. In addition to his non-profit work, he fought to effect change in the Neptune Festival Court as the first Prince, making it possible for other young men who might be interested in the position for the foreseeable future.
  • Captain Henri Norris, Virginia Beach Sheriff's Office
    Captain Henri Norris received this award for his work in helping to foster better relationships and solutions, ensuring cultural diversity in the Sheriff's Office workforce, and creating some of the longest and most productive volunteer partnerships within our community.
  • REACH, Inc.
    REACH, Inc. received this award for their work promoting literacy for children who are at-risk and homeless throughout Coastal Virginia. Education and the ability to effectively communicate is the most basic of Human Rights, and by providing a variety of options to families in need, REACH, Inc. is helping to break the cycle of poverty and helping to answer the needs in our poorest communities.
  • Joy Rios
    Joy Rios received this award for her work as the founder of Connect With a Wish which offers a variety of programs to grant a wish to every child in Virginia Beach foster care. Joy and her team are a voice in the community speaking for the rights of youth that are in foster care or have aged out of foster care, truly making a difference in the lives of our city's most vulnerable citizens.

    The Virginia Beach Human Rights Commission advocates for the human rights of city residents by providing educational programming, public forums, and assistance to those whose rights may have been violated.

Video of the Awards Ceremony

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