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WFAE announces winners of the 2024 EQUALibrium Awards

Today, WFAE named the winners of its first EQUALibrium Awards.

The awards recognize Charlotte-area residents and institutions that have made outstanding contributions in advancing issues of equity and economic mobility within the community.

More than 100 nominations were received across seven categories. Winners and nominees will be honored at an awards ceremony on June 27.

WFAE also will give special achievement awards to the following individuals whose work and impact transcend multiple categories:

  • Charles Thomas, Knight Foundation, will receive the Catalyst Award for facilitating the work of organizations throughout our community.  
  • Grace Nystrum, Bank of America, will receive the Vanguard Award for her community leadership. 
  • Jane and Hugh McColl will receive the Luminary Award for their work to create equity and access to education for young people living in our community.  
  • Mayor Vi Lyles will be recognized for her leadership in raising public and private funds to address equity gaps in Charlotte.  

EQUALibrium Award Winners

Emerging leaders (less than 5 years), established leaders and institutions were selected in each category.

Arts & Culture

  • Héctor Vaca Cruz, community activist and photographer, Emerging Leader 
  • Hannah Hasan and Shardae Hasan, Epoch Tribe, Established Leader 
  • Hue House, Organization/Business 


  • Alex Bùi, Vietnamese Association of Charlotte, Emerging Leader 
  • José Alvarez, Prospera USA, Established Leader 
  • TreesCharlotte, Organization/Business 


  • Maggie Dineen and Nicole Rojas, Queens University of Charlotte, Emerging Leader 
  • Michael Realon, Palisades High School, Established Leader 
  • Theatre Gap Initiative, Organization/Business 


  • Jaime Brown, Concord City Government, Emerging Leader 
  • Mayor Vi Lyles, Charlotte City Government, Established Leader 
  • Mecklenburg County Public Health, Organization Business 

Health Care

  • Keon Lewis, Cabarrus Health Alliance, Emerging Leader 
  • Dr. Holly Savoy, Charlotte Trans Health, Established Leader 
  • Piedmont Black Nurses Association, Organization/Business 

Social Justice/Community Advocacy

  • Dr. Aimy Steele, New North Carolina Project, Emerging Leader 
  • Gina Esquivel, The Lee Institute, Established Leader 
  • Disability Rights & Resources, Organization/Business 


  • Yandrick Paraison, Diversity in Sports Hub, Emerging Leader 
  • Kerry Sargent and Clarence Johnson, Mallard Creek High School, Established Leader 
  • Charlotte Hornets Sports & Entertainment Foundation, Organization/Business 

Tickets to the EQUALibrium Awards Gala are on sale.

Event Details

The EQUALibrium Awards Gala will be on Thursday, June 27, at 5:30 p.m. at the Revelry at Camp North End. This formal event will feature keynote speaker Nick Wharton, president and CEO of Charlotte Area Fund; performances by Grammy-nominated musician Dae-Lee, El Alma de la Luna Dance Academy, and spoken word artists Shane Manier and Lady V; and an awards ceremony that recognizes the honorees, including all nominees.

A portion of the ticket purchase is tax-deductible. Proceeds will benefit WFAE’s local news, “Charlotte Talks” and other projects.