April 9, 2019

Media Contacts:
Mark Miller, Administrator, Office of Public Information, 410-313-2022
Janssen E. Evelyn, Acting Administrator, Office of Human Rights, 410-313-6430
ELLICOTT CITY, MD – The Howard County Human Rights Commission has announced that Frank V. Eastham Jr., Dou Alvin Zhang, MD, PhD and Howard County Voices For Change (V4C) are the recipients of the 2019 Human Rights Award. 

“Our three recipients have shown what it means to live by our shared values of compassion and inclusion,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. “Mr. Eastham, Dr. Zhang and V4C are being honored for their commitment to providing education, healthcare, and opportunity to everyone. I am deeply grateful for their example and I know Howard County is fortunate to have them.”  

Presented annually, the Human Rights Commission Award honors individuals and community organizations for contributions to human and civil rights in Howard County. The purpose of the award is to recognize exemplary citizenship, dedicated leadership and outstanding achievement in eliminating or eradicating discrimination, while advancing human rights for all residents of Howard County. Award recipients are selected by the Commission based on nominations submitted by the community.

An advocate for human rights, Frank V. Eastham Jr. served on the Human Rights Commission for nine years, two of which he was chair. As principal of Oakland Mills High School, he worked with the Council of Elders for the Black Community in Howard County to reduce the disparity of suspensions of African-American students. During his tenure with Howard County Public School System’s (HCPSS) administration, he served as a Cultural Proficiency trainer for HCPSS leaders, striving for diversity celebration and difference appreciation throughout the public school system.

A board-certified internist and cardiologist, Dou Alvin Zhang, MD, PhD believes healthcare is one of the most basic human rights. It is this belief that led Dr. Zhang and other like-minded physicians in Howard County to establish the Asian American Healthcare Center (AAHC), a volunteer clinic serving low income residents who cannot afford health insurance. Since opening its doors in 2008, AAHC cared for more than 1,250 patients. 

Howard County Voices For Change (V4C) is a student-based program comprised of middle and high school students from diverse backgrounds and perspectives focused on creating opportunities to support the community in the broader student population. These future leaders of the world identify issues impacting their peers and work together to develop strategies to address these issues, celebrate diversity and promote an inclusive environment where everyone’s voice can be heard. 
Past recipients of the Human Rights Commission’s Award include: Dr. Yen Li and The Build Haiti Foundation (2018); Young chan Han and Denene Yates (2017); Howard Community College’s Mediation and Conflict Resolution Center (2016); PFLAG Columbia-Howard County, MD (2015); Dr. Mark Stout and the River Hill Cultural Awareness Club (2014); the Honorable James Robey and The Council of Elders of the Black Community of Howard County, MD (2013); Elisa Montalvo and the Howard County NAACP Youth Council (2012); Carol Beatty and the Community Action Council of Howard County, MD, Inc. (2011); Rufus Clanzy (2010); Dr. Edward Cochran (2009); Dr. Sydney Cousin and Leola Dorsey (2008); and Colette Roberts and Rev. Dr. Robert Turner (2007).  

An award ceremony will be held on Wednesday, April 17 at 6:30 p.m. at the Historic Oakland Ballroom, 5430 Vantage Point Road in Columbia to honor this year’s award recipients. At the ceremony, the Human Rights Commission will also celebrate its 50th anniversary. Established in 1969, the Human Rights Commission’s duties and responsibilities are prescribed by law, and include recommending a civil rights policy to the County Executive and the County Council; the authority to conduct surveys and studies concerning human rights conditions and problems; and the authority to file a complaint when there is reason to believe a pattern or practice of discrimination exists. 

The award ceremony is free and open to the public; however, seating is limited. To reserve your seat, call the Human Rights Commission Award reservation line at 410-313-5906. 
For more information about the award program, or to request sign language interpreter services or other accommodations for participation in this event, contact Stephanie Chapple at 410-313-6430 (voice/relay) or email [email protected]

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