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Three activists honored with Elizabeth Duncan Koontz Award

By Deedee Wright

SALISBURY — The Salisbury Human Relations Committee honored three community activists at the annual Elizabeth Duncan Koontz Humanitarian Banquet.

The award is named for Elizabeth Duncan Koontz in honor of her career in education, social and civic activities. During her career, Koontz continually broke race and gender barriers. She was the first African-American to serve as president of the National Education Association and was appointed by President Nixon to lead the Women’s Bureau at the Department of Labor.

The Koontz Elementary School choir and Gloria L. Jones provided the music. A video was played and the audience was able to hear from Koontz in her own words.

Those honored in the spirit of Koontz were:

  • Barbara Perry for working to make Salisbury a truly “livable” city with her Blockwork annual project, Habitat for Humanity and sculpture show. Perry also serves on the Housing Commission, the Salisbury Symphony and the Community Care Clinic.
  • Anthony Johnson, a Rowan-Salisbury Schools Teacher of the Year and Regional Teacher of the Year. Johnson teaches science and social studies to fourth and fifth grades at Isenberg Elementary School. He is an Apple Distinguished Educator and was named TED Educator, only one of 30 from around the world.
  • Geoffrey Hoy was honored for his work with his community. Hoy also serves as chairman of the Rowan County Democratic Party. He was appointed to the Truth, Healing, Hope and Equity Commission which address issues of systemic racism in the community. Hoy also chairs the Outreach Ministry Group of St. John Lutheran Church.

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