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City of Hickory Community Relations Council recognizes Human Relations Award winners

HICKORY, NC (May 24, 2017)…The City of Hickory Community Relations Council (CRC) recognized the winners of their annual Human Relations Awards with a banquet and ceremony on Tuesday, May 23 at the Highland Recreation Center. Mr. Steve Hunt, Sr. addressed the group as the keynote speaker. He is the Executive Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs at Catawba Valley Community College and has promoted human relations in the Hickory community for many years.

The annual Human Relations Awards are designed to recognize any individual, youth, or organization/business that has gone “above and beyond” in promoting good human relations in the City of Hickory. The four winners selected were Katie Sullivan, Mervin Sealy, Jr., Hani Nassar, and the Racial Justice and Reconciliation Discussion Group.

Sullivan, a Catawba County Exceptional Children’s Teacher, coordinated the 2017 Catawba County Special Olympics Spring Games. Sullivan worked hundreds of hours to develop the county’s local games into a high quality event, much like the state level Special Olympics tournament. She ensured that the games were an exceptional and memorable experience for the athletes and their families.

Sealy has been active in the Hickory community for numerous years. He has served in various roles for the Hickory Branch NAACP, including President, Vice-President, and Youth Council Advisor. He works closely with the Hickory Police Department’s youth outreach programs and has helped Hickory’s youth in many different capacities. Additionally, he serves on the Salvation Army Board and the Racial Justice and Reconciliation Discussion Group.

Nassar, Chair of the Hickory International Council, is a true advocate for human relations, volunteering his time to creating programs and events that educate citizens and bring different cultures together. He serves on various boards, including the SALT Block Foundation, the Western Piedmont Sister Cities Association, the Bond Implementation Commission, Frye Hospital Regional Advisory Council, and TEDxHickory.

The Racial Justice and Reconciliation Discussion Group consists of many community leaders, including clergy members, minority leaders, city and county officials, and members of the Hickory Police Department. The group formed several years ago, in an effort to bridge racial divisions and misunderstandings. Since then, the group has worked tirelessly at strengthening community relations and establishing Hickory as a beacon of unity and peace.

“Promoting positive relationships within our community, diversity, and tolerance of others is the CRC’s focus,” said Clise Plant, Chair of the CRC. “The annual Human Relations Awards showcase individuals and organizations within the community who exemplify this goal through dialogue, education, programs, and resources.”

The City of Hickory and the CRC congratulates these important members of the community.