FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 1, 2023
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Arlington, VA – At the annual Blue Victory Dinner on Saturday, April 29, 2023, the Arlington County Democratic Committee announced eight volunteers of the year in front of a sold-out crowd at the Hilton Arlington.
Newcomer Of The Year Award: Elizabeth Escovar
Elizabeth is a changemaker. She joined the committee in 2022 and jumped right in. Her leadership presence has been felt across the organization. She is the lead point-person on our committee-wide email communications and a powerful voice in outreach, driving efforts to model how caucuses communicate with the communities we represent. Elizabeth is always thinking creatively and is always solutions oriented. Despite her many work and personal obligations, she's always "on call" and always willing to help. Last year, she helped write and format Beyond Arlington and Joint Campaign Committee emails, sometimes within 24 hours of receiving them -- helping us get our information out expeditiously and fundraise accordingly. She's helped Beyond Arlington synthesize their priorities in written messages. She developed an entire Caucus Communications Plan for the Latino Caucus, proposing a structure that could become a model for how others use their social media and manage their email lists. And not to be outdone, she stepped up as leader of the Latino Caucus. She is a reliable and driven person who is highly focused on ensuring we're talking to communities equitably, and her service in two important roles on the committee straddling different but interrelated areas make her a prime candidate for the newcomer of the year.
Campaigner Of The Year Award: Mark Perlman
Mark is an incredibly steadfast and loyal volunteer. Not only does he perform duties as an ArlDems precinct captain, but he has also volunteered with the Young Dems as well for the past four years and currently serves and the Diversity & Inclusion Director. Throughout the year, and especially during campaign season, he shows up everywhere. For years, Mark has led the way on the number of doors knocked. He is a legend. This past year, he again went out to almost every canvass he could and volunteered whenever possible, knocking hundreds of doors to help candidates in Arlington and beyond. We are incredibly grateful for all of Mark’s hard work and loyalty to the Democratic cause.
Unsung Hero Award: Sangeeta Rao
Sangeeta joined the Young Democrats back in 2004 and helped out by putting up signs and registering voters, helping again in 2012 by canvassing for President Obama's reelection. In 2016, she became a Precinct Captain in Barcroft and continues to sign up for poll greeter shifts. With Beyond Arlington, she canvassed in Henrico and Chesterfield counties for Abigail Spanberger in 2018. In 2019, Sangeeta stepped up to chair the AAPI Caucus. She created and organized their annual signature event, Diwali, which is the only Diwali festival in Arlington County. Today Sangeeta serves in the elected role of Outreach Chair where she advocates on behalf of our caucuses and and all of our communities in Arlington.
Erik Gutshall Community Leader Award: Bryant Atkins
Bryant has contributed much to Arlington Democrats and our Arlington community. He holds a leadership role with the Arlington Dems Disability Caucus. As Party Representative for Arlington Young Democrats, he helps keep AYD engaged with critical electoral races and reporting on AYD events and accomplishments at both Steering Committee meetings and Arlington Democrats monthly committee meetings. He’s been a strong housing advocate and testified before the Arlington County Board in support of a more inclusive housing policy. He has also recently joined the Arlington Disability Commission and is working to raise awareness of the rights and needs of people with disabilities. Bryant has also played an integral part in the planning and execution of the Blue Victory Dinner in 2022 and again this year. He is helping out with the 2023 Joint Campaign Committee and works tirelessly for many of our candidates.
Herselle Milliken Precinct Captain of The Year Award: Colleen McCool
Colleen is a Precinct Captain in Campbell, one of our most Democratic and diverse precincts where she actively works to register more voters in the heart of a heavily Spanish-speaking neighborhood. You can also frequently find her at Beyond Arlington events as well as the Courthouse Farmers Market where she works tirelessly to recruit volunteers every Saturday. Her commitment and devotion shines through on all she does.
Jean Marshall Crawford Women’s Leadership Award: Sarah Flourance
Sarah led the Arlington Dems response in the wake of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization U.S. Supreme Court decision reversing the constitutional right to abortion. She worked around the clock to create the outstanding Arlington Dems Roe Action Center website. This invaluable resource provided those in Arlington and the Commonwealth with the information they needed regarding reproductive health at a time when it was under attack. Although her efforts speak for themself, our data shows that the Resource Center was one of our website's most visited pages last year and was used as a resource throughout the Commonwealth.
Young Democrat of the Year Award: Sam Shirazi
In just one year's time, Sam has become a leading contributor to the Arlington Democrats social media channels, producing content that relates news events to our messages. Sam has the impressive ability to do this almost seamlessly, as if writing riffs about statewide politics comes as naturally to him as putting on shoes. Our followers love the voice of the Arlington Democrats online, and his posts are frequently quoted by local press. More generally, Sam is also a leader on our committee, helping with Blue Families and generously giving us his time despite raising young children. He's a proud dad, proud Arlington Democrat, and effective communicator.
Mary Marshall Outstanding Democrat Of The Year Award: Natalie Hall
Natalie has been a quiet worker for decades, making things happen and getting things done without a lot of fanfare. Serving as both a precinct captain and an area chair, helping out with literature bundling, Metro leafleting, postcard writing and voter registration, she is always organized, upbeat, and willing to help. A former school administrator, she and her husband have staged many canvass launches, hosted many fundraisers, and done so in one of Arlington’s toughest precincts. She is a dedicated Beyond Arlington canvasser, and she always makes Election Day volunteers feel special and appreciated. We congratulate and thank this exceptional Democrat for her years of service.