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The Marvin E. Johnson Award recognizes a sustained, outstanding contribution or a specific extraordinary achievement that has enhanced diversity and equity within an area of society. The honor recognizes dedicated leadership, compassion and passionate advocacy of individuals who have successfully contributed to removing barriers or obstacles to full and equal participation at various aspects of society, bridging divides and expanding diversity.
Rev. Nelson and Joyce Johnson have been involved in creating positive change and restorative justice for the homeless, street gangs, immigrants, youth, low wage workers, seniors and many others in need of social justice. In 2004, the Johnsons launched and experiment to deal with the confusion, hurt, blame and injustice rooted in "the Greensboro Massacre," a labor and civil rights march that Nelson led, which resulted in five deaths. Their Truth and Reconciliation Commission has given voice to the grievances that kept their community in moving forward, bringing labor, women's, civic and religious groups to the table to improve the lives of the disenfranchised.
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