La. Council on Human Relations to honor 4

Four individuals who have worked to improve human relations in Louisiana and the capital area will be honored on June 7 when the Louisiana Council on Human Relations and the Baton Rouge Council on Human Relations hold their first joint meeting.

The program is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. at Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church, 9700 Scenic Highway.

The Louisiana Council will honor Patrice Melnick and Gloria Trahan Linton with the Oliver-Sigur Humanitarian Award.

The Baton Rouge Council will honor Tony Pryer and Professor Patt Foster Roberson, according to a new release from the council.

The Baton Rouge awards are given in honor of the late Rev. Elmer Sylvester Powell and the late Rabbi Melvin Reznikoff.

Melnick is a writer, art administrator, educator and business owner, who taught creative writing for 13 years at Xavier University in New Orleans.

Following Hurricane Katrina, Melnick moved to Grand Coteau, where she opened a gift shop and started a literary reading and open mic series. In 2010, she established a nonprofit organization, The Festival of Words Cultural Arts Collective, which promotes the literary arts in the surrounding rural communities, the release says.

Linton is a native of Rayne who lives in Lafayette, where she works as an educator in the parish and city schools and as a community activist helping to restore Holy Rosary Institute, a school originally opened to educate African-American girls. She has traveled extensively promoting the creole culture. Linton has been honored for her work in helping youngsters stay drug free and for her volunteer work with the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, says the release.

The award is named for James Oliver, a pioneer in computer science and professor of chemistry who was an advocate for social justice, and for Monsignor Alexander O. Sigur, who was chaplain of the Catholic Student Center at the then University of Southwestern Louisiana from 1952 until 1967 and was a member of numerous organizations, including the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, the Louisiana Commission on the Aging and the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, according to the release. He was co-founder and board member of the Msgr. Sigur Service Center in Lafayette.

Pryer, a resident of Baker, is coordinator of Volunteers in Public Schools Everybody Reads Program, where he works with school representatives, board members and community groups and volunteers in planning events. He conducts training session for individuals, classes and community groups, the release says.

Roberson, also a Baker resident, is a retired professor of Southern University’s mass communication department. She is a freelance reporter and photographer who provides service to various groups. A hospice volunteer, Roberson was named Baker Outstanding Citizen of the Year in 2008, according to the provided information.

Pryer and Roberson’s awards are given in honor of Powell, a former pastor of St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church of Baton Rouge and the first black person and the first Catholic to serve as president of the Baton Rouge Ministerial Association, the release says.

The awards also honor Reznikoff, a rabbi at Beth Shalom Synagogue, who was a dedicated advocate of desegregation of schools in the 1960s, the release says.