On the eve of her fourth trip to Afghanistan, a former Seattle lawyer was recognized last night for her social-justice advocacy work on five continents.
Julia Bolz became the third recipient of the annual Thomas C. Wales Award for Passionate Citizenship, at the Westin Hotel in downtown Seattle. The award, given by the Thomas C. Wales Foundation, is named for the federal prosecutor shot to death in his Queen Anne basement more than three years ago. Wales' slaying remains unsolved.
Bolz, who six years ago resigned from her Seattle law practice, now works as a legal and business adviser and social-justice advocate in the developing world, according to a foundation news release. Bolz has worked on land issues and HIV/AIDS prevention.
Most recently, though, Bolz has dedicated her efforts to building schools in Afghanistan. After she returned to Seattle from a trip in 2002, she launched a project called "Journey With an Afghan School." With the help of schools across the United States, including at least six in the Seattle area, her team has built four schools for almost 4,000 Afghan students. Bolz will return to Afghanistan Tuesday, the release says.
Four other civic leaders received honorable mention for their work:
• Beverly Graham, founder of OPERATION: Sack Lunch, was recognized for her efforts over the past 15 years to feed Seattle's homeless and working poor.
• Blaise Judja-Sato, who started VillageReach after working to help Mozambique flood victims, developed a model to improve health care in remote villages. The method is now used in 90 clinics that serve more than 1.5 million people in northern Mozambique.
• A Vietnamese translator, youth mentor and role model, Bruce Nguyen was recognized for his work with SafeFutures Youth Center and Seattle's Vietnamese community.
• Julia Pritt was honored for helping more than 3,000 low-income women pay for education and health care since she founded Washington Women in Need in 1992.