HHOMA to host virtual 2021 Trailblazer Awards ceremony to close out Black History Month



CHARLESTON, WV – The Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs (HHOMA) will close the February 2021 Black History Month with a virtual awards ceremony. The event will include the presentation of the annual Trailblazer Award, along with other awards, to West Virginians in the state’s minority communities who have exhibited lives of excellence in service.

The virtual ceremony will be held Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021, at 7:00 p.m. The public can tune in on the HHOMA Facebook page.

A digital program for the ceremony is also available online.

The Trailblazer Award was established in 2019 by HHOMA Executive Director Jill Upson.

“After we have spent the month of February honoring Black history leaders and finding opportunities to learn, HHOMA has chosen to close Black History Month by honoring unsung heroes who are currently making their marks in their own communities and our state,” Upson said. “This is an opportunity to elevate and celebrate those who exemplify the greatness of West Virginia by serving as leaders and giving back.”

The HHOMA awards and honorees are:

Groundbreaker Award: Traci Phillips
Groundbreakers have demonstrated, in their youth, that they have already begun to have a positive impact on their community.

Pioneer Award: Regina Riley and Leo Riley
Pioneers are identified by their peers as emerging leaders. The honorees have a record of service in underserved communities.

Trendsetter Award: Frances Jones
Trendsetters have at least five years of documented service to marginalized communities, exhibit superior leadership abilities, have impacted numerous lives, and are highly respected by their peers.

Trailblazer Award: Reverend Frank Jones
HHOMA’s highest honor, Trailblazers have risen far above the call of duty, either in their chosen careers or in volunteer service. Their contributions are significant and their accomplishments are numerous. Their commitment to excellence is evident in various aspects of their lives and their community impact is deep.

“Trailblazers are role models who contribute to the greatness of West Virginia,” Upson said. “These emerging leaders may someday be remembered as prominently as those recognizable names and faces who we have honored each year during Black History Month and throughout our lifetime.”

The inspiration for an annual celebration of Black achievements originated in West Virginia with Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a scholar, journalist, historian, and Huntington educator. The idea expanded, and February has been designated as Black History Month by every U.S. president since 1976.

Contact Information

CONTACT: Michelle Petties — Michelle.D.Petties@wv.gov, 304-356-2023