Yates Family Celebrates Decades of Community Leadership

The OneJax Institute, formerly known as the national Council of Christian and Jews, celebrated their 2016 Humanitarian Awards ceremony honoring those who have demonstrated commitment to the improvement of human relations among diverse groups in our community. The 2016 awards honorees represented a broad cross-section of community trustees and leaders. Jacksonville native and Aerospace pioneer Alton Yates received the 2016 Gold Medallion for Lifetime Achievement award.

Witnessing the occasion was Alton’s wife, former councilwoman Gwendolyn Yates, who received the OneJAx 2006 National Conference for Community and Justice Humanitarian Silver Medal Award. Gwen and Alton have been married for 55 years,

“As a team, through our personal and community endeavors, we’ve worked tirelessly for Jacksonville civil rights and will continue to support diversity for all citizens of Jacksonville. This award means a lot to Alvin and I,” said Gwen Yates.

A native of Jacksonville, Alton Yates served in the U.S. Air Force at the Aeromedical Field Laboratory for four years in the 1950’s, participating in numerous aerospace research experiments designed to test the effects of space travel on the human body. Upon discharge, he became a dedicated advocate for racial equality and led a series of sit-in demonstrations to end segregated facilities in Jacksonville. Alton went on to serve with several branches of the federal, state and city government among other high profile appointments.

Since 2012, OneJax has been an Institute at the University of North Florida. The organization also partners with other entities promoting civil conversations around difficult or uncomfortable topics and issues.

Other winners include: Hope McMath, Director, Cummer Museum & Gardens (President’s Citation Award); Silver Medallions: Michael Boylan, President and CEO, WJCT Public Broadcasting, Harry Frisch, Founder, Beaver Street Fisheries; Kevin Gay, Founder and CEO, Operation New Hope—Ready4Work; Susan Greene, Community Volunteer. For more information go to www.onejax.org.

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