A Call for Nominations for 2019 Union County Human Relations Commission Unity Achievement Awards

Contact: Union County Human Relations Commissioner Karen E. Positan

Nominations are currently being sought for the prestigious 2019 Unity Achievement Awards, presented each year by the Union County Human Relations Commission (UCHRC) to individuals, organizations, and businesses that have distinguished themselves in the area of volunteerism, public service, and the promotion of human rights. 

Simply put, the Awards honor ordinary people who do extraordinary things on behalf of others. Award nominees must live, work, and/or go to school in Union County. 

“We need the public’s eyes and ears to alert us to those who dedicate their time and effort to not only enhance others’ experiences and quality of life, but raise and honor the human spirit,” Commission Co-Chair Jo Ann Hamilton said. “These Awards recognize programs, services, activities, and efforts being put forth by local role models who promote cultural diversity, strong community relations, and human rights. Their efforts improve the lives of others, and by doing so, they truly make a difference in our communities and our world.”

“Listening to the stories told during the Unity Awards presentation every year, it’s impossible not to feel genuinely moved and inspired,” Commission Co-Chair and Union County Prosecutor’s Office Director of Communications Mark Spivey added. “The Award recipients represent the very best of us here in Union County.”

The Award categories include corporate/business enterprise, nonprofit organizations, community organizations, individuals, law enforcement, public service, veterans, media, clergy, faith-based organizations, students, educators, and special recognition. The 2019 presentation will mark the 18th annual year in which honorees have been named. 

The commissioners who volunteer their time and energy to serve on the Union County Human Relations Commission unequivocally agree that the best way to strive to accomplish their mission — to actively encourage, develop, promote, and strengthen respect for human rights and cultural diversity among the people of Union County — is to publicly honor those who already do it well. 

The 2018 Awards honored 15 individuals and seven organizations.  

One recipient was honored for a lifetime of volunteerism to various organizations within his community, and for mentoring younger volunteers; another, a high school student, undertook an initiative educating classmates, teachers, and parents about food allergies to increase sensitivity and to eradicate stigma and bullying they create. Another recipient was a group of individuals of various faiths helping local refugees assimilate into their communities and the American way of life, while another worked to restore dignity and an active lifestyle to wounded veterans and to intervene on behalf of homeless veterans.

The recipients also included a woman who has worked tirelessly to fight human trafficking, and another who helps women break free from forced, arranged, and underage marriages.

Nominations for the 2019 Awards are being accepted now, and they must be received no later than Wednesday, December 26, 2018. The awards will be presented in May 2019.

Nominations can be submitted online at, emailed to uchrc@ucnj.orgor mailed to the UCHRC, c/o the John H. Stamler Police Academy, 1776 Raritan Road, Scotch Plains, NJ 07076.

Nominations must include the name, address, email, and telephone number for yourself and your nominee, as well as an explanation of the specific programs, activities, or efforts undertaken by the nominee (and, if relevant, any newspaper articles, literature, or other documents).

A listing of all of the previous Unity Achievement Award recipients in all categories can be found online. For additional information or assistance, please call 908-889-9028 or email