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Five trailblazers named 2020 Strong Men & Women in Virginia History

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Dominion Energy and the Library of Virginia celebrated the achievements of five African-American leaders during the eighth annual Strong Men & Women in Virginia History awards program held Thursday, Feb. 6, at the Richmond Marriott.

The program honors prominent African Americans past and present who have made noteworthy and admirable contributions to the commonwealth, the nation and their professions.

“These honorees are leaders in their communities that have earned this recognition through their passion and hard work,” said Maria Pia Tamburri, senior community engagement policy director at Dominion Energy. “They are exemplary individuals, paving the way forward for those who wish to serve their community. We are pleased to recognize them for their leadership and accomplishments.”

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Dominion Energy’s “Strong Men & Women” series.

“The Library of Virginia is pleased to partner with Dominion Energy again in 2020 to present the Strong Men & Women in Virginia History program,” said Librarian of Virginia Sandra G. Treadway. “The experiences and accomplishments of the men and women honored this year are inspiring, and it is wonderful to have this opportunity to share their stories with a wide audience.”

This year’s honorees are:

– Kaci M. Easley           Government Official, Charles City County
– Penny J. Franklin       Community Activist, Montgomery County
– Joycelyn S. Harrison  Chemical Engineer and Mentor, Hampton
– Torrey Smith              Super Bowl Champion and Philanthropist, Westmoreland County
– Marcus D. Williams   Judge and Civic Leader, Fairfax

Four high school student essay winners were also recognized during the ceremony. Each wrote essays, selected from over 200 entries, about the perseverance of African Americans and the importance of their contributions to American history and culture.

The winners of the 2020 Strong Men & Women in Virginia History student essay competition are:

– Rebekah Bautista       Massaponax High School/The Commonwealth Governor’s
School, Spotsylvania County
– Jy’Mir Starks             Great Bridge High School, Chesapeake
– Ilaria Cabell                Forest Park High School, Woodbridge
– Ava Seagle               Gate City High School, Gate City

Each student will receive an Apple MacBook Air laptop and $1,000 for their school.

augusta free press
augusta free press
augusta free press

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