City News

Human Relations - Dec. 5, 2018

The staff of the Human Relations Department is being collectively honored for its efforts on behalf of the Latino community in Winston-Salem.

At a ceremony Thursday night in Chapel Hill, the department staff will receive the 2018 Sharon Mújica Award from the Institute for the Study of the Americas at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The award is given annually in recognition of outstanding service rendered to the Latin American communities in North Carolina, or for noteworthy contributions to promote enlightened U.S. relations with Latin America.

The institute is honoring the department for "their extraordinary commitment to Latin American and Latino communities," in Winston-Salem. The department is the lead partner in the Winston-Salem Building Integrated Communities initiative of UNC’s Latino Migration Project. The initiative facilitates the sharing of information, resources, and services in areas such as fair and affordable housing choice, education, health care (including hunger) and transportation.

Additionally, the department organized a state-wide symposium last month for agencies that assist immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers; has organized "trust talks" between the Police Department and the Latino community; and organizes the annual International Village Food and Music Festival held every September. 

Wanda Allen-Abraha, the department director, said, "We feel very excited and honored to be awarded this statewide recognition by UNC-Chapel Hill.  Because of their BIC Latino Migration Project grant four years ago, we have been able to partner with community stakeholders in developing and continuing to implement our own culturally-inclusive community plan.  As a result, we are working to fulfill the federal legal mandate that all city services are available to Winston-Salem residents, despite language and cultural barriers." 

In addition to Allen-Abraha, the department is staffed by Human Relations Specialists Adolfo Briceño, Jelani Biggs and Jayme Waldeck, and Administrative Assistant Karlyn Duncan.

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