Virginia Union University Announces Awardees for the 43rd Annual Community Leaders Celebration Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 13, 2021

For Immediate Release


Angela Hayes

Director, Communications



Virginia Union University Announces Awardees for the 43rd Annual Community Leaders Celebration Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

First of its kind virtual event will be live-streamed and televised on WTVR CBS 6, and WTKR CBS

RICHMOND, VA (January 8, 2020)– Virginia Union University (VUU) today announced six awards to be presented during the 43rd Annual Community Leaders Celebration in partnership with WTVR-CBS 6 (Richmond), WTKR CBS 3 (Hampton Roads), and the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), on Monday, January 18, 2021, at 9:00 AM. Individuals and organizations embodying the spirit of Dr. King's legacy will be recognized for their work in health, education, economic justice, and legislation. Awardees have demonstrated a tireless commitment to improving the community through racial, social, and economic equity in the Richmond or Hampton Roads communities.

“Remembering the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr is very important for Virginia Union University. He challenged the social injustices felt by people of color and imagined a 'Beloved Community' where all people could live together in harmony," said Hakim J. Lucas, President & CEO of Virginia Union University. "For 156 years, VUU has done the same by championing causes to include equal access to quality and affordable education. We are thankful to Dominion Energy for supporting this celebration since it began 43-years ago and for our partnership with the United Negro College Fund, WTVR-TV6, and WTKR-TV3." 

The following awards will be presented during the live broadcast:

MLK Legacy Award, Governor L. Douglas Wilder

L. Douglas Wilder was elected the United States' first black Governor in January 1990. Having a career as a groundbreaking politician, a prominent lawyer, and a war veteran, Wilder embodies everything that Dr. King fought for and everything the MLK Legacy Award represents. Wilder has been credited with being a pioneer who bridged the racial divide in the nation's highest elected offices and a trailblazer that made President Barack Obama's historic 2008 election possible.

MLK Beloved Community Award in Faith and Education, Reverend Patricia Gould-Champ

Dr. Gould-Champ served 25 years as Senior Pastor of the Faith Community Baptist Church (FCBC) in Richmond, Virginia. Through her leadership, FCBC has long served the communities of Fairfield, Whitcomb, and Creighton Court as well as the greater East End community in the City of Richmond. She has been a trailblazer as it relates to access to education.  When area public schools were forced to close their physical doors due to the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak, Reverend Dr. Patricia Gould-Champ started planning to open her doors to assist in ensuring students stayed connected to the classroom and had adequate access to Wifi for online learning.

MLK Beloved Community Award Health Equity (Richmond), Sisters Network Central Virginia 

Founded in 2007 as one of the 20 Sisters Network Inc. chapters nationwide, SNCV is a breast cancer survivorship organization comprised of breast cancer survivors and volunteers who are dedicated to spreading awareness about the devastating impact of breast cancer in the Black community. Black women are 42% more likely to die of breast cancer than White women.

MLK Beloved Community Award Health Equity (Norfolk), Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters

Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters Health System (CHKD) opened its doors in 1961 with the promise to help every child who needs its services. That solemn pledge is still at the heart of all the organization does. With generous community support, CHKD is able to help subsidize needed pediatric services that no one else in the region offers. The health system advances general and professional understanding of children's health, as well as collaborates with others to create a safer, healthier, and more equitable future for all.

MLK Beloved Community Award Economic Justice, Virginia Poverty Law Center

Since 1978, the Virginia Poverty Law Center has been a stalwart advocate for traditionally under-represented communities in Virginia. Through advocacy, education, and litigation, the VPLC is dedicated to breaking down systemic barriers that keep low-income Virginians in the cycle of poverty. The organization works on behalf of those in need of financial stability and legal aide and is widely known for addressing issues such as domestic and sexual violence, elder rights, and equity in the areas of health, housing and consumer rights. The VPLC is the only statewide organization that provides training to local legal aid program staff, private attorneys and others relating exclusively to the legal rights of low-income Virginians.

MLK Beloved Community Award Policy Equity, Delegate Delores McQuinn

A staunch advocate for racial and justice, the 70th district state representative introduced and was one of the leading champions of the recently passed HB1537 bill, which changed a decades-old state law that protected Confederate monuments by allowing local governments the freedom to decide how to deal with them. She introduced one of several bills that created the Virginia Food Access Investment Fund designed to provide resources to fund farmers' markets, mobile markets, grocery stores, co-ops, and small supermarkets in the communities that need them the most. She sponsored the "Crown Act" legislation, which prohibits discrimination based on hair types and hairstyles. And she joined with Governor Ralph Northam to support the Historic Justice agenda, which led to, among other things, a $25 million investment to help transform and preserve historical sites, including the Lumpkin's Jail site and Richmond Slave Trail—two projects McQuinn supported for decades.

VUU is excited to share sponsorship and other opportunities for all members of the University, community and corporations throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia to support Dr. King's legacy at VUU. For more information about the Community Leadership Celebration awardees, visit the website. For sponsorship opportunities, call Deborah Alston, VUU's Senior Director of Alumni Relations and Advancement Services at (804) 342-3936.

About Virginia Union University

Virginia Union University is a premier liberal arts urban institution of higher education and center of excellence for the preparation of students and the development of leaders for tomorrow's world. It was founded in 1865 to give newly emancipated slaves an opportunity for education and advancement. Virginia Union University offers a broad range of educational opportunities that advance liberal arts education, teaching, research, science, technology, continuing education, civic engagement, and international experiences. Visit https://www.vuu.edu/ for more information.