ECHO Award Winners - 2004

Liz Clayton is one of Winston-Salem's true community advocates. With her participation in groups such as C.H.A.N.G.E., Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods, and the Hispanic International Action Association, Liz works to make positive change in Winston-Salem. Liz was instrumental in the development and implementation of the Yard-of-the-Week program, a program sponsored by the Waughtown Neighborhood Association, of which Liz is an active member. Yard-of-the-Week encourages residents in the Waughtown area to take care of the landscaping around their dwellings. The program was recognized as a 2003 City-County Appearance Commission Award recipient. Liz was nominated by Tamara McLaughlin.

John Gates' weekly column in the newspaper helped shape public opinion and gave perspective and insight into the importance of social capital. With titles such as "Getting the Haves to Help Have-Nots Should be Matter of Conscience", "The Examined Life Includes an Open Mind About Faith, Conviction", and "Fair Treatment is More Than a Matter of Who Owes What to Whom", it is clear that John Gates felt a responsibility to prompt thought and conversations regarding inclusiveness, tolerance, and respect. John's columns served as a catalyst for social-capital building in Winston-Salem. We honor him for his 20+ years at the Winston-Salem Journal and for his commitment to educating the community about social capital. John Gates was nominated by Gail Fisher.

Mattie Young is affectionately and appropriately referred to as the Mayor of Cleveland Avenue. She knows what activism and advocacy can do for a community. Mattie received the honorary title of Mayor of Cleveland Avenue after initiating much-needed improvements in her community. Mattie spoke with city officials about the problems that existed in Cleveland Avenue Homes and then organized a march in the area to draw attention to the issues. As current president of the Cleveland Avenue Homes Association, Mattie continues to be committed to bringing people to the table to address neighborhood issues. Mattie also runs an annual school supply drive for students who cannot afford to purchase supplies on their own. Mattie was nominated by Bob and Patti Hoffman.

Rob Stephens' commitment to volunteering models an important aspect of social capital and he is a good illustration that Everyone - people of all ages, races, and cultures - Can Help Out. At age 17, Rob already understands the importance of civic engagement and leadership. Rob convened five local high schools to participate in the Forsyth County Student Coalition, a group working to raise awareness of AIDS among high school and college students. Rob also organized high school students to co-sponsor a conference at Wake Forest University about AIDS in Africa. Rob pays special attention to the groups he has helped organize to ensure that they are diverse and committed to working toward a common goal. Rob, a regular volunteer at Aids Care Service in Winston-Salem, was nominated by Sandra Mikush.

Carlton Eversley, Jane Ferguson, Khalid Griggs, Gordon Jenkins, Larry Little, John Mendez, Mark Rabil, Ben Sendor, and Adam Stein, who represent the volunteers formerly known as the Darryl Hunt Defense Committee, have proven that civic participation, active politics, and persistence can triumph over injustice. For almost 20 years, this team of volunteer community activists, in addition to attorneys representing Darryl Hunt, fought for justice in a case that touched many in Winston-Salem and beyond. The team worked diligently to see that the barriers of racial and social mistrust in the community could be overcome for the sake of justice. Their work to free one man created a platform on which sensitive subjects such as racial biases in the criminal justice system and in our community could be discussed. Their commitment to civic engagement and active politics, two dimensions of social capital, inspired community cohesion. Out of the heartbreaking tragedies of Deborah Sykes and Darryl Hunt, the volunteer committee's commitment to truth and justice has become a symbol of hope that Winston-Salem's low level of interracial trust can be healed. The committee was nominated by William McElveen and Jeff Coppage.


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