Community crusader for social justice and interfaith understanding Priscilla Martínez was presented with the Ann Robinson Social Justice Award at the third annual Loudoun Falls for Social Justice celebration Tuesday, Oct 23.
The annual Ann Robinson Social Justice Award is given to unsung heroes who work to improve the lives of others, intervene to redress injustices, and promote empowerment and inclusivity. It is named after longtime Leesburg resident Ann Robinson, who worked to promote the power of diversity and inclusion until her death in 2016.
Martínez was recognized for her longstanding leadership with Loudoun Interfaith BRIDGES, among many other dedicated volunteer efforts. In addition to her work with BRIDGES, she has served in various positions within the Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts of the USA, on the Board of Directors of The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers, with the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship, and as president of her local library’s advisory board.
Previous winners of the Ann Robinson Social Justice Award include Doris Kidder, for her leadership in founding the annual Martin Luther King Jr. March in Leesburg; and Wendall Fisher and Herb Bryan, for their work with the Minority Student Achievement Advisory Committee at the Loudoun County Public Schools.
It is not the first time members of the Jaka-Martínez family have been recognized for their leadership in the community; Martínez and her husband Rizwan Jaka, a member and former chairman of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society board of trustees, are known for their outreach, involvement, and social justice work in the area. Recently, one of their children, Mikaeel Martínez Jaka, was only the fifth American in history to win the World Organization of the Scout Movement’s Messengers of Peace Heroes Award. He was recognized for his work at the African American Burial Ground for the Enslaved at Belmont.
The annual Loudoun Falls for Social Justice celebration, organized by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Loudoun, showcases a range of organizations and individuals who striving to strengthen the social and economic fabric of Loudoun County. Nonprofits invited to this year’s event included 350 Loudoun, All Ages Read Together, Backpack Buddies Foundation of Loudoun, Every Citizen Has Opportunities, Fresh Air Full Care, Friends of Loudoun Mental Health, the Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter, Loudoun Habitat for Humanity, Loudoun Volunteer Caregivers, Mobile Hope, and the Loudoun chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. All proceeds from the event are split among the participating nonprofits.