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Veronica Dabney receives ‘Tolton Award’

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Veronica Dabney, a parishioner of Our Lady, Queen of Peace Church in Arlington, is the 2021 recipient of diocesan Black Catholic Ministries’ Father Augustus Tolton and Mother Mary Lange award. The news was announced this month as part of Black History Month.

Candidates for the "Tolton Award" are active in the Black Catholic community and nominated by their peers. The recipient then is appointed by a committee of ministry leaders.

Dabney stood out for her long-standing and faithful service to her parish community, and the Black community in the area and abroad. She has held numerous leadership roles and worked in various parish outreach programs including the parish’s Haiti Ministry, supporting sustainable community-based development. She heads the parish’s "Ujamaa" Committee (Swahili for "extended family") that seeks to support the culture and gifts of Black Catholics and address the needs of African Americans, as well as encourage multicultural participation to benefit the whole parish. As char of Ujamaa, she has helped the committee raise more than $300,000 in scholarship funds to support students.

Additionally, Dabney is an active member of VOICE (Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement). This nonpartisan group is composed of more than 40 faith communities that focuses on social justice and standing in solidarity with those in need.

"As Catholics, we have a rich heritage of promoting social justice," said Deacon Al Anderson of St. Joseph Church in Alexandria. "Through VOICE, Veronica puts that Catholic value into practice."
Former winners of the Father Augustus Tolton and Mother Mary Lange award include Jerry Cousin, Holy Trinity Church in Gainesville; Beverly Anderson, St. Joseph; Cecelia Braveboy, Our Lady, Queen of Peace; Emelda August, Holy Family Church in Dale City; and Phyllis Johnson, St. Joseph .

Wilson is director of the diocesan Office of Multicultural Ministries. 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021