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Celebrate 10 Years!

Thursday, January 19, 2023

January 19, 2023, 5:30 pm-7pm

5:30- 6 pm 

Cocktails + hors d’ouerves catered by Limonada Catering

6-7 pm

Keynote address Monica Richardson, Pulitzer Prize winner and Executive Editor of the Miami Herald

Reflector Award presented to Deborah Bell-Burks and Joy Johnson

Final Comments Leah Puryear, Board Chair


Tickets $50 individual $80 couple   (Please note: if you are RSVPing as a couple please choose rsvp couple for the first attendee and then rsvp couple free for the second attendee)

Celebratory Attire

Keynote by Monica Richardson, Pulitzer Prize winner, Executive Editor Miami Herald

Monica R. Richardson is the Executive Editor of the Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald, and Regional Florida Editor for McClatchy Newspapers, which includes the Bradenton Herald and Florida Keys News online. She leads these award-winning newsrooms and is focused on audience and digital subscription growth. She is also focused on continuing the brands’ tradition in journalism with impact serving an ever-growing and increasingly diverse South Florida audience that also reaches readers in Caribbean and Latin American countries. Richardson, a Pulitzer Prize winning-editor, made history when she was named the first African-American editor in the news organization’s 117-year history.

Recent Awards and Honors

● Named to the upcoming 2023 Sulzberger Executive Leadership Fellow-Columbia Journalism School

● Received the South Florida Most Influential African-American Award from Miami Legacy Magazine

● 2022 History Maker Award from the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project Foundation, founded by Congresswoman Frederica Wilson

● 2021 Congressional Record of Honor Recipient

● Listed among “The First, but Not the Last, Women Leaders of South Florida,” an inaugural award presented by the YWCA of South Florida

● Named among Editor and Publisher’s 2021 Top Ten Women to Watch ● 2021-22 Women Unlimited, Inc. LEAD (Learn, Engage, Achieve, Deliver) graduate

Recent Work History

Before joining McClatchy, Richardson was the Senior Managing Editor for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, part of Cox Enterprises Inc. She held various leadership roles over 14 years at the AJC and was promoted to the Senior ME role in February 2018. Before that she served as the AJC’s Digital Managing Editor, helping to shape and lead digital strategy in a newsroom that has produced award-winning journalism.

Leadership Profile

Richardson’s experience has included leadership over teams responsible for digital platforms (website, mobile, newsletters) and social media platforms as well as large teams of daily and breaking news reporters, digital audience specialists and senior editors. She has also overseen audience engagement and assisted in facilitating new content tools through artificial intelligence and content partnerships.

She has led newsrooms through challenging strategic shifts with content and business strategy, aimed at supporting strong journalism brands through audience growth. She is a people and collaborative leader who has built new teams and throughout her career focused as much on people and teams as she has on the bottom-line business needs. She also fosters a culture of innovation and experimentation in her leadership. Her experience has included work on building strategic business and vendor partnerships, as well as non-profit and grant partnerships with newsrooms.

In addition to daily duties related to content and overall newsroom management, she collaborates across business units including Technology, Consumer Revenue, Marketing and Advertising.

In addition to Florida and Georgia, Richardson has worked at newspapers in Kentucky and Virginia. She has been a member of various journalism industry associations. She has been named among the Atlanta Business League’s Top 100 Women of Vision for 5 consecutive years and has served as an esteemed juror to the national Pulitzer Prize board. She has served on local nonprofit boards and as a community advocate and volunteer for various organizations. She has a passion for mentoring entry-level journalists and aspiring editors, as well as other leaders across industries. She is also a passionate advocate for diversity, inclusion and equity initiatives that empower and inspire across generations.

Reflector Award Recipients

Deborah Bell-Burks

Deborah Bell Burks is a Charlottesville, Virginia, native. She began her journey living in the Starr Hill neighborhood on Commerce Street. Her early years were split between visiting her grandfather, who lived across the street in the funeral home, and around the corner, watching her mom and dad run Quality Retail Store, a small convenience grocery store on Vinegar Hill. There she learned early life lessons and began to realizethe importance of community connections.  After graduating from Hampton University, she dedicated years to the teachingprofession, working in an array of positions teaching in the Nellingen, Germany, Department of Defense Dependent Schools, Battle Creek, Michigan, Richmond and Charlottesville, Virginia, and Fayetteville, North Carolina. In addition, she was a military officer’s wife for 20 years, which involved moving every few years and various volunteer responsibilities. An honor she received was her selection to the Board of Directors of the Ft. Lee Officer’s Wives Club.

She currently operates with her husband, Col. Martin V. Burks III, the oldest family-owned business in Central Virginia, the 105 years old, J. F. Bell Funeral Home Inc. On the 100th Anniversary, the business received a Proclamation from the Virginia General Assembly and the Charlottesville City Council. In her role in the funeral home, she has been active in sponsoring numerous church and civic events throughout the area, including events presented by the Paramount Theater, the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, and events by fraternal organizations. She has been awarded several awards with her husband: the Distinguished Dozen Award from the Daily Progress; the Charlottesville Minority Business Award from the Charlottesville Minority Business Council; and the Spirit Award from the Eta Phi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.She was interviewed and appeared in a New York Times article in 2017, after the events of August 11th and 12th , for her reflections on Charlottesville’s past concerning Vinegar Hill. In addition, she co-wrote an essay in the Daily Progress in 2021 for Martin Luther King Jr.’s Day, consisting of advice on how Charlottesville could best carry onthe legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

After August 12, 2017, there was a need to begin a healing process for Charlottesville. She was instrumental in organizing the Community Table and Board with the United Way of Charlottesville, bringing together over 700 people. It occurred on the Jefferson School City Center grounds with individuals from the community of varied backgrounds sharing a meal and having a conversation with each other; it led to many other smaller community tables and conversations to create stronger connections within the community.

She has served on various Boards of Directors in the Charlottesville area that nurtures and creates institutions that will leave a legacy for future generations. She is currently a Board member of the Jefferson School Foundation and the Botanical Garden of the Piedmont. Served as a Center for Non-Profit Excellence Host Committee member and currently as the Vice President of the Charlottesville Chapter of the Links Incorporated. A past President of the Charlottesville Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and a past member and committee chair of the Junior League of Charlottesville.Selected as the first chair of the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center Advisory Committee, she selected its first board, which developed the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center. A past Co-Chair of the UVa Families Board of Directors, where the significant highlights were delivering the welcome speech with her husband at President Teresa Sullivan’s Inauguration and serving on a committee for the 20/20 plan for the University. Deborah is a presenter to community stakeholders, civic organizations, forums, andchurch groups on the history of the Jefferson School, and a panel presenter on the topic of Vinegar Hill at the University of Virginia small collections library and to UVA classrooms. Recently appeared in the PBS documentary “Raised/Razed.” Her desire to contribute her talents to the Charlottesville area is evident by her participation and dedication to ideas, institutions, organizations, and projects that can make a positive difference in the quality of life for everyone in the community.

Joy Johnson

 Joy Amarylis Johnson is the Founder and Chair of the Board of Directors for the Public Housing Association of Residents (PHAR) in Charlottesville, VA.  PHAR was established in 1998 as a citywide residents’ association for public housing and section 8 residents.  She is employed as a Section 3 Coordinator for the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority (CRHA).  A native of Kingston, Jamaica, Joy became an American citizen in 2000, and is a Public Housing Resident.

Prior to her work with CRHA, Joy served for 22 years as an Outreach Coordinator for the Westhaven Nursing Clinic in Charlottesville, Virginia assisting her neighbors in accessing preventative healthcare provided by parish nurses and organizing the legendary Annual West haven Community Day. As a founder of Charlottesville’s Public Housing Association of Residents (PHAR), Joy put the rights and needs of low-income residents front and center in the city’s housing policies and priorities. Founded as an advocacy organization in 1998, Charlottesville PHAR, where Joy continues to serve as board chair, is today a major force in Charlottesville, giving residents of low-income and affordable housing extraordinary influence in the planning and policy decisions impacting their lives and the lives of many others.

Under Joy’s leadership, PHAR has significantly reformed the landscape for low-income and affordable housing residents in Charlottesville. The organization led key initiatives such as a 2012 class-action lawsuit against the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority (CRHA) combatting excessive utility fees, formed crucial partnerships with local and national housing advocacy networks, produced the Positive Vision for Resident-Directed Redevelopment publication to guide the work of the CRHA, and secured employment opportunities for low-income residents. Joy’s most enduring legacy lives in others. Through its innovative six-month internship program, PHAR provides the leadership and advocacy skills necessary for residents to become changemakers in their communities. Graduates of the program have gone on to well-paying jobs, work as housing advocates, and serve on city boards and commissions, including the board of the CRHA.

  Joy began her community service as a member of the Head Start Policy Council.  She has since served on or chaired a number of boards and commissions at the local and national levels including the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, University of Virginia Employee Council, Virginia Association of Neighborhoods, Offender Aid and Restoration Board, west haven Tenant Association, Everywhere and Now Public Housing Residents Organizing Nationally Together (ENPHRONT), Monticello Area Agency Community Action (MACAA), Connecting People to Jobs, Quality Community Council,  Charlottesville CBDG Task Force, Charlottesville Social Services Advisory Board, and the City of Charlottesville’s Housing Advisory Committee. In the early 2000s, Joy also served on the board of directors of NLIHC, bringing her phenomenal activist- leadership to shape the work of the Coalition.

Currently, Joy serves as Chair for the Public Housing Association of Residents (PHAR), Vice-President of the Board of Legal Aid Justice Center, and sits on the Local Steering Committee of the Equity Center at the University of Virginia, UVA Housing Committee, the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s Redevelopment Committee, the University of Virginia’s Billing and Collections Advisory Council, and PHAR’s Residents for Respectful Research Advisory Committee and Charlottesville Housing Advisory Committee.

Joy has successfully completed numerous workshops and training with HUD, NHLIC, LAOSHAC, Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, and the Legal Aid Justice Center, and has completed CITI certification. Not one to keep all this knowledge to herself, Joy has presented workshops at National Low Income Housing Coalition, NLADA, Virginia Legal Aid’s Statewide, Pennsylvania Legal Aid’s State wide, and the Virginia Governor’s Conferences. She also works with J.r. Fleming of Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign.

Since childhood, Joy has been a member of Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, dancing, spending time with friends who are supportive, but most of all, spending time with her grandchildren. Joy Johnson is an example of how we must all live our lives: in service of improving the lives of others.

  • Type: Special Event
  • Time: January 19, 2023 - 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
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