2019 WCA Benevolence Award™ Winners

Sharon Schuster Bulova

Raising Consciousness through:

Faith Communities in Action and the Clergy and Leadership Council

For visionary leadership, fostering cross-cultural understanding and collaboration among faith communities and governmental agencies actively ushering in the Brotherhood of Humanity.

During her eleven years as Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Bulova guided the county through the Great Recession, ushered in new land use plans, welcomed Metro’s Silver Line to Tysons and Reston, updated the county’s environmental vision and created the Joint Environmental Task Force (JET), reduced homelessness by nearly fifty percent, re-engineered police policies and practices, and established a social and racial equity policy called One Fairfax. Ms. Bulova’s proudest accomplishment was envisioning cooperation between government agencies and the faith community and founded Faith Communities in Action and the Clergy and Leadership Council who established working committees to address Homelessness, Affordable Housing, Youth at Risk, Domestic Violence and Assistance for the Elderly.

Lobna ``Luby`` Ismail

Raising Consciousness through:

Connecting Cultures

For visionary leadership in business, government, local and international communities promoting positive intercultural and interfaith engagement, ensuring respect for human diversity and reminding all, they are part of the Family of Humanity.

Lobna “Luby” Ismail, is the founder and president of Connecting Cultures, LLC, www.connecting-cultures.net for over twenty years.  She is dedicated to breaking through barriers across cultures and faiths.   Luby helped develop and launch 20,000 Dialogues an initiative between Muslim, Christians and Jews. She was selected along with Anas Shallal as an Arab American leader to engage in dialogue with Seeds of Peace traveling to Bosnia, Croatia, Jordan, Palestine and Israel. Luby has conducted training for Federal and State agencies, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations and private corporations including Microsoft, Walt Disney World, U.S. Department of Justice, State,  King Abdullah University for Science and Technology, NIKE.  She is a strong advocate in citizen diplomacy between international high school students and American has families.  Luby received the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Honoring the Achievements of Extraordinary Arab-American Women Award.

Mele Melton

Raising Consciousness through:

Culturfied International Children’s Festival

For being a visionary and founder of the “Culturfied International Children’s Festival” fostering cross-cultural understanding, encouraging children to see themselves as ‘World Citizens’!

In 2009, Mele Melton launched Culturfied.com, a social networking site and community forum where members were asked to share their cultures and learn about others. The project continues to grow and encourage global learning, but Mrs. Melton wanted to make even more significant impacts in the global education arena. Thus, she formed the Culturfied Foundation, dedicated to increasing cultural awareness and creating new and better opportunities for DC-area students to be exposed to other world cultures in a positive and life-enhancing way. The foundation offers cultural literacy programs to more than 3,000 students through partnerships with DC International School, United Nations Association of the National Capital Area and Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, DC.

Rev. David North

Raising Consciousness through:

Musical Arts

For a lifetime of Uplifting, Enhancing, Nurturing, and Empowering Interfaith Harmony and Peace Consciousness through composing, performing and directing music that touches the heart, encouraging personal transformation and the awareness we are one humanity.

The Rev. David K. North has been sharing his ministry in Word and Song for all of his life. David has been the Director of Mosaic Harmony Community Choir since 1996 and has produced, recorded, and performed on multiple recordings. David has also been a soloist with the Men and Women of the Gospel at the Kennedy Center, Washington, DC. In addition to his musical pursuits, David has played the lead role of Oedipus in the “Gospel at Colonus” at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop and at the H Street Playhouse of Washington, DC. Rev. David K. North is an ordained minister with the Baptist Church and with the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches. He currently is working on his doctoral dissertation at Wesley Theological Seminary focusing on Enhancing, Nurturing, and Empowering Interfaith/Peace Collaborations via Music.

Prof. P.S. Perkins

Raising Consciousness through:

Language in the Arts

For fostering transformative communication across diverse communities and within the field of Creative Arts, enabling more understanding of human nature, ensuring experience of our commonalities and a celebration of diversity.

P.S. Perkins, a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill’s and NYU’s Schools of Communication, is a noted expert in the arenas of Human Communication and the Communication Arts. P.S. is a published author of creative fiction, poetry, prose as well as scholarly works discussing the scope of Human Communication in its various forms. P.S. has dedicated her professional career to Behavioral Communication health and Interpersonal and Intercultural Relations. Her seminal book The Art and Science of Communication, Wiley Publishers introduces her widely acclaimed Communication Staircase Model and its effectiveness advancing positive change within the communication climate. Recent artistic writing contributions can be read in the Hill Rag, Reflections Magazine – Prince Georges Community College 2015 – 2019 editions and Hallelujah Anyhow Anthology, 2018 and 2020 …as well as other print and online publications. Recently she wrote, produced, directed and performed her one-woman show, “Finding Her: Journeying into Womanhood” at the DC Black Theater and Arts Festival, 2019. She is a founding member of the current UDC-Artist Collective and Founding Board Member of both the San Diego Black Storytellers and the D.C. National Capitol Area Black Storytellers Association. She is also a current member of the poetry group Writers on the Greenline! She is a performing artist, poet, motivational speaker, and Professor of THE POWER OF THE SPOKEN WORD.

Ari Roth

Raising Consciousness through:

Theatre Arts

For courageously presenting plays that are thought-provoking, transformational and socially significant, that increase our understanding of the human condition, inspire us to be better than we are, and redeem our humanity.

Ari Roth is an American producer, playwright, educator, and Founding Artistic Director of Mosaic Theater Company of DC. He served as Artistic Director of Theater J for 18 years, building the company into the biggest, most progressive Jewish theater in the county, producing 129 productions and creating the annual festivals “Voices From a Changing Middle East” and “Locally Grown: Community Supported Art” alongside forums like the Peace Café (co-founded by Mimi Conway and Andy Shallal). The “Voices Festival” brought acclaim for productions like Pangs of the Messiah, Return to Haifa, and The Admission.  Following its abrupt cancellation in 2014 and his controversial dismissal a month later, and buoyed by support from over 120 artistic directors from across the country, Roth established Mosaic Theater Company to expand a social justice mission and make Mosaic a model of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access. Mosaic’s inaugural season was heralded by The Washington Post as “one of the most significant developments in Washington theatre in years.” Since its first production in fall of 2015, Mosaic has produced 34 full productions, 45 staged readings, workshops, and “Mosaic on the Move” presentations, including a national tour of the Voices Festival, with over 500 post-show discussions, building a Fusion Community with audiences from all parts of the city through candid conversation and transformational artistry.

Andy Shallal

Raising Consciousness through:

The Arts in Business

For being a change agent, using the power of “Art in Business” creating inspiring murals that move hearts and minds to a higher plane of consciousness, bringing about public awareness of the importance of peace building to make this a better world.

Anas “Andy” Shallal is an artist and social entrepreneur. He is the founder of Busboys and Poets and Eatonville Restaurant. Both restaurant concepts create an environment where racial and cultural connections are consciously uplifted. Spaces to feed the mind, body and soul and where art, culture and politics take center stage. With 6 locations in the Washington Metropolitan Area, Busboys and Poets has become home for progressives, artists and intellectuals. By Spring of 2016, Busboys and Poets will be open in Historic Anacostia in Ward 8 with a state of the art culinary and leadership academy and a full service Busboys and Poets restaurant, bar and bookstore as well as performance space for poetry, music and political and social conversations and salons.

Shallal’s businesses adhere to sustainable business practices becoming a leader in food sourcing, employment practices and environmental stewardship. He has received numerous awards including the Mayor’s Arts Award, Employer of the Year from the Employment Justice Center and the Mayor’s Environmental Award.

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