Standing on the Shoulders of Greatness dinner and gala

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First row: Reneldo Randall, Archie Jefferson, John Piggott, Jackie Bridgeforth Williams, Coach Melvin Jones, PJ Piggott, William Capers, Kenny Holloway
Second row: Philip Canady, Eric Stone, Steve Freeman, Christ Brown, Andre McLaughlin.

Community leaders, educators and coaches were honored Saturday, April 21, at “Standing on the Shoulders of Greatness,” a dinner and gala hosted by The Village Initiative for equity in education. The standing-room-only event was held at the Williamsburg Unitarian Universalists.

The event honored those who have made and continue to make a difference in area schools and the community.

Among the honorees were Bobbye Alexander, Edith “Cookie” Heard, Coach Melvin Jones, Dr. John Whitley, Satoshi Ito, Linda Wallace-Cody, Rev. Dr. Thomas T. Shields, Sr., Jacqueline Gardner, Chris Brown, Rev. Dr. Robert Whitehead and New Zion Baptist Church, and Kenneth Edwards.

Certificates of appreciation were given to Village tutors, 757 Give Back organizers, Real People Educating Others, Brian Smalls, Apostle Corwin Hammond, Travis Harris, John Piggott, Coach Donovan Bridgeforth, Kenneth Holloway, Jamesse Jones, Lafayette High School’s Men of Vision and Purpose program and Eric Christensen.

The Village Initiative is an action-oriented, grassroots organization committed to working together with the Williamsburg/James City County Schools to achieve greater equity, reduce the achievement gap, and end the school to prison pipeline. In addition to policy advocacy, The Village Initiative has established tutoring programs and is currently sending approximately 30 tutors into the schools on a weekly basis to support teacher instruction at James River Elementary, Berkeley Middle School, and the Bright Beginnings program.

Commemorative T-shirts from the event are available at

For more information about the Village, go to or the Facebook page Our Village.

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