American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity Announces its 46th National Conference and Awards Ceremony - Virtual

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Icons of equal opportunity, affirmative action and diversity are among the speakers and award recipients at the Association’s 46th National Conference and Annual Meeting - Virtual on October 7 - 8, 2020.

AAAED 46th National Conference

AAAED 46th National Conference and Annual Awards Ceremony

“We are delighted to honor such outstanding icons of social justice, diversity and equal opportunity,” said Dr. Richard Anthony Baker, president of AAAED.

The American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity (AAAED), an organization of equal opportunity, diversity and affirmative action professionals, announced its 46th National Conference and Annual Awards honorees for 2020. Themed “Turning Obstacles into Opportunities,” the 46th National Conference and Annual Awards Ceremony is also acknowledging the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. “We are delighted to honor such outstanding icons of social justice, diversity and equal opportunity,” said Dr. Richard Anthony Baker, president of AAAED. The two-day conference will include presentations by agency officials including Janet Dhillon, Chair, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC); Robert Gaglione and Patricia Davidson, deputy directors, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP); and staff of the Office of Disability Employment Programs (ODEP), U.S. Department of Labor.

The program will also include discussions about current issues including “Artificial Intelligence has Landed in HR: The Legal Landscape and Risk Mitigation Strategies for Hiring in the Digital Age,” led by Michelle Duncan, Esq., of Jackson Lewis PC; “Complexities of Addressing Issues of Free Speech and Bias post-George Floyd,” led by members of AAAED and hosted by the Fund for Leadership, Equity, Access and Diversity. This workshop will be moderated by Scott Jaschik, editor of Inside Higher Ed. Lastly, the controversial Title IX regulations on sexual harassment at colleges and universities, promulgated by the U.S. Department of Education, will be the subject of a panel about challenges academic institutions have had in complying with the regulations made effective on August 14, 2020.

During the Awards Ceremony on October 8th, the association will acknowledge civil rights, equal opportunity and diversity leaders. It will also honor those who have passed away in the last year, including Rep. John Lewis, Rep. Elijah Cummings, Rep. John Conyers, Rev. C.T. Vivian and others.

The AAAED 2020 Award Honorees are:

1. The Drum Major for Justice Award
The Drum Major for Justice is the highest award the association confers. The Award is a special acknowledgement of the extraordinary contributions that an organization or individual, including a public servant or one who has held an elective office or appointment to public service, has made to the cause of access, equity and diversity. Previous recipients include Rev. Dr. CT Vivian (2018), Dr. Shirley A Jackson (2017), Rep. G. K. Butterfield (2016), and Representatives August F. Hawkins and Parren Mitchell (deceased) (2008), for whom the award was established.

The 2020 AAAED Drum Major for Justice Award Honoree is The Honorable Robert “Bobby” Scott, Chair of the Committee on Education and Labor, U.S. House of Representatives.

Congressman Robert C. "Bobby" Scott (D-VA) has represented Virginia’s third congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1993. Prior to his service in Congress, he served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1978 to 1983 and in the Senate of Virginia from 1983 to 1993. Congressman Scott has the distinction of being the first African-American elected to Congress from the Commonwealth of Virginia since Reconstruction and only the second African-American elected to Congress in Virginia’s history. In this capacity, he is advancing an agenda that improves equity in education, frees students from the burdens of crippling debt, protects and expands access to affordable health care, ensures workers have a safe workplace where they can earn a living wage free from discrimination, and guarantees seniors have a secure and dignified retirement. Chairman Scott is the third African-American chair of the Education and Labor Committee and the second to receive the AAAED Drum Major for Justice Award. Rep. Augustus F. Hawkins, for whom the Drum Major Award was created in 2008 to honor him posthumously, was the second African-American Committee Chair. The first was Rep. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. (1908 – 1972).

2. The Arthur A. Fletcher Lifetime Achievement Award
Named for the “Father of Affirmative Action,” former Assistant Secretary of Labor Arthur A. Fletcher, who established the Revised Philadelphia Plan requiring goals and timetables in the construction industry - the precursor for what became “Affirmative Action,” the Arthur A. Fletcher Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes a career devoted to promoting and advocating for affirmative action, EEO and diversity.

The 2020 AAAED Arthur A. Fletcher Lifetime Achievement Award Honoree is Attorney Clarence Dunnaville, Jr. of Virginia.

Clarence M. Dunnaville, Jr., Esq., was born during the Great Depression in the city of Roanoke, Virginia and grew up during the Jim Crow era. He fought segregation as a child by refusing to use segregated toilets or to sit in the back of the bus. Determined to escape segregation, he excelled at school, skipped two grades and graduated from Lucy Addison High School in Roanoke when he was just 16. Upon graduating from High School, Dunnaville left his ancestral home in Southwest Virginia to attend college as far north as his limited funds would take him to escape segregation. He made it to Baltimore, Maryland where he attended Morgan State College. In 1965, he became the first black attorney for AT&T. Dunnaville, now a Richmond, Virginia lawyer, has devoted his life to civil rights. He served as a volunteer attorney with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Mississippi in 1967, while on leave of absence from AT&T. While in Mississippi, seeking to enforce a black citizen’s rights, he was driven out of Marks, Mississippi by a white law enforcement official who brandished him with a shotgun, and he was subjected to many other indignities. Still active with the Lawyers' Committee today, Dunnaville received its Segal Tweed Founders Award for his lifetime achievements and devotion to fighting for civil rights.

3. The Cesar Estrada Chavez Award
The award is named for Cesar Estrada Chavez, an American labor leader and civil rights activist who, along with Dolores Huerta, co-founded the National Farm Workers Association (later the United Farm Workers union, UFW) in 1962. The Cesar Estrada Chavez Award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated leadership in support of workers' rights and humanitarian issues.

The 2020 AAAED Cesar Estrada Chavez Award Honoree is Dr. Juan Sanchez Munoz, Chancellor, University of California, Merced.

On May 20, 2020 the University of California Board of Regents approved Dr. Juan Sánchez Muñoz’s appointment as UC Merced’s fourth chancellor. Dr. Muñoz goes to UC from the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD), where he served as president since 2017. Dr. Muñoz is a first-generation college graduate. “Having dedicated my career to student success and creating access to the transformational power of higher education across racial and social lines, I’m excited to continue that work at the University of California, a world-renowned public institution.” During his first year at UHD, Dr. Muñoz launched the university’s largest capital campaign and led the institution’s recovery efforts after Hurricane Harvey. Muñoz also presided over UHD’s increases in enrollment, retention and graduation, in addition to new degree programs including a bachelor’s of science in nursing and data science; awards from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for the university’s model success programs; and a $1 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute — the only university in Texas to receive the award in 2018. Dr. Munoz earned his B.A. in psychology from UC Santa Barbara, an M.A. in Mexican American studies from California State University, Los Angeles, and a Ph.D. in education at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he studied curriculum & instruction in the Division of Urban Schooling.

4. The Rosa Parks Award
Named for the civil rights icon who refused to surrender her seat to a white passenger on a segregated bus and sparked not only the Montgomery Bus Boycott but the ultimate end of racial segregation of public facilities, the Rosa Parks Award recognizes an individual who serves as a role model and leader for others through his or her personal achievements, excellence in a chosen field; commitment to human, civil rights and social issues and contributions to the betterment of society.

The 2020 AAAED Rosa Parks Award Honoree is the Honorable Maxine Waters.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) is considered by many to be one of the most powerful women in American politics today. She has gained a reputation as a fearless and outspoken advocate for women, children, people of color and the poor. Congresswoman Waters made history as the first woman and first African American Chair of the House Financial Services Committee. An integral member of Congressional Democratic Leadership, Congresswoman Waters serves as a member of the Steering & Policy Committee and is the Co-Chair of the bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease. She is also a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and member and past chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.

5. The Edward M. Kennedy Community Service Award
Named for the former Senator from the State of Massachusetts who was a lifetime champion of civil rights, disability rights and other issues on behalf of disadvantaged persons, the award is presented to an individual or organization demonstrating outstanding community service.

The 2020 AAAED Edward M. Kennedy Community Service Award Honoree is Disability:IN.

The Disability:IN story started with the common misperception that people with disabilities could not work. “Our roots stem from government, with ties to the Americans with Disabilities Act, but we soon realized without an active collaboration with corporate America, people with disabilities would never be able to participate fully, nor meaningfully, in business.” Disability:IN, formerly the US Business Leadership Network (USBLN), has since become the leading nonprofit resource for business disability inclusion worldwide. Disability:IN represents a new era for disability inclusion in business. At the same time, the organization remains committed to building a stronger bridge between business and the disability communities. With more than 220 corporate partners, 27 Affiliates, and enduring alliances with LGBTQ individuals, Women, and People of Color, Disability:IN aims for the day when the organization is no longer needed.

6. The Roosevelt Thomas Champion of Diversity Award
This award was named after the late R. Roosevelt Thomas Jr., known for developing and implementing innovative concepts and strategies for maximizing organizational and individual potential through Diversity Management. The award is therefore given to an organization or corporation for outstanding achievements in promoting diversity in the workforce.

The 2020 AAAED Honoree of the Roosevelt Thomas Champion of Diversity Award is PepsiCo.

PepsiCo has a strong legacy of leading in diversity practices, starting in the 1940s as a pioneer in hiring African American salespeople, in the '50s as among the first major companies to have a woman on its Board, and into the '80s as a vanguard of multicultural marketing. Together, with their different perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds, PepsiCo’s people are building on this legacy and creating a future across the more than 200 countries and territories in which it operates. Since 2016, PepsiCo has made external commitments around gender parity, pay equity, and prosperity for all of its communities, and each year the company continues to celebrate champions of diversity and inclusion with the Harvey C. Russell and Steve Reinemund Awards.

7. The Emerging Leader Award
This award is given to an individual who is becoming a leader on the national stage and who has demonstrated excellence in his/her workplace and/or community. This is the first year that the award will be conferred.

The 2020 AAAED Emerging Leader Award Honoree is Dr. Nicholas Hartlep, Berea College, Kentucky.

Nicholas D. Hartlep (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee) is the Robert Charles Billings Endowed Chair in Education at Berea College where he Chairs the Department of Education Studies. Founded in 1855, Berea is the first interracial and coeducational college in the South and consistently ranks among the nation’s leading liberal arts colleges. Before coming to Berea College, Dr. Hartlep Chaired the Department of Early Childhood and Elementary Education at Metropolitan State University, an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI) in St. Paul, Minnesota. While there he also served as the Graduate Program Coordinator. Dr. Hartlep has published 22 books, the most recent being (2019) What Makes a Star Teacher? Seven Dispositions that Encourage Student Learning, which was published by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. His book The Neoliberal Agenda and the Student Debt Crisis in U.S. Higher Education, with Lucille L. T. Eckrich and Brandon O. Hensley (2017) was named an Outstanding Book by the Society of Professors of Education. In 2018, the Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) granted Dr. Hartlep the John Saltmarsh Award for Emerging Leaders in Civic Engagement Award.

8. The AAAED President’s Awards
The President’s Awards are given to AAAED members who have made outstanding contributions to the Association.

The 2020 President’s Award Honorees are:

Sharron G. Gatling, CAAP, College of William and Mary, Conference Co-Chair and Board Member
Sandra K. Hueneman, Sr. CAAP, Manchester Consultants, AAAED Treasurer and Webinar Administrator
Jerry Knighton, M.P.A., Clemson University, AAAED Conference Planning Committee
Marilynn Schuyler, Esq., Schuyler Affirmative Action Practice, AAAED Sponsorship Chair and Board Member
Tonisha Thorpe, University of Arkansas, AAAED Conference Committee

9. The AAAED Special Appreciation Award

This Special Appreciation Award is given to Craig E. Leen, Esq., Director, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, U.S. Department of Labor.
This Award is to acknowledge Director Leen for his leadership in advancing the rights of individuals with disabilities in the federal contractor labor force.

The AAAED 46th National Conference and Awards Ceremony is open to the press. For more information or to register for the Conference, go to:, Email:

Founded in 1974 as the American Association for Affirmative Action (AAAA), AAAED is a national not-for-profit association of professionals working in the areas of equal opportunity, compliance and diversity. AAAED has 46 years of leadership in providing professional training to members, enabling them to be more successful and productive in their careers. It also promotes understanding and advocacy of affirmative action and other equal opportunity laws to enhance the tenets of access, inclusion and equality in employment, economic and educational opportunities.

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