The Denver Public Library honored four community members at its annual Juanita Gray Community Service Awards and Blacks in Colorado Hall of Fame induction. The event, held at Ford-Warren Branch Library, kicks off the library’s Black History Month celebration.
Annually, Denver Public Library along with the Library Commission and the Juanita Gray Community Service Awards Community Committee honors African American men, women, and youth who have made outstanding contributions to the Denver Metro area through the Juanita Gray Community Service Awards.
Juanita Gray was a former library staff member and community advocate. The awards were established in 1988 to honor Gray’s legacy, dedication, and advocacy of the African American community.
The 2023 Juanita Gray Community Service Award recipients are:
Salma Douah (Youth Awards Winner)
Salama Douah brings global perspective and a pure heart to her education. Douah sees the good in others and uses that as her motivation to make her community and the world a better place. She is a student who has a passion for social justice issues. She has helped organize movements for her peers who have suffered from unjust immigration policies. Salma has also led initiatives at school so it can be a more inclusive environment for every type of student, such as the Day of Silence for our LGBTQ students, and has participated in programming to help support students who struggle with mental health. Douah has volunteered and been part of the Boy’s and Girl’s Club of America which has allowed her to grow as a leader.
Dr. Halim Ali
Dr. Halim Ali is the Founder and Executive Director of From The Heart Foundation. Since 2016 he has served as a mental health professional, community activist, youth and adult mentor, and master facilitator in several modalities of mental health and behavioral health curricula. Dr. Ali is currently also authoring his first book to be released early 2023.
He works directly with the Denver Metro community and its suburbs advocating for individual empowerment and mental health awareness to establish healthy American families.
Through community events and programs ranging from youth leadership courses, Rites of Passage programs, adult male health and wellness workshops, educational seminars, and community/public services, Dr. Ali is for the people first. He works hard in creating new movements that are direct, intentional, and purposeful throughout all platforms of healthcare geared toward healthy individuals, families, and communities.
Eddie Mae Woolfolk
Eddie Mae Woolfolk (Ms. Eddie) serves alongside her husband Pastor Robert E. Woolfolk (Pastor Bob) at Agape Christian Church as Administrative Assistant and Program Director. Wollfolk has dedicated her life to serving others, especially homeless, ex-offenders, and hurting people. Woolfolk is a graduate of Kansas Bible College with a bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies. Her work in the community includes starting a transitional house program to house men of color released from the justice system. Additionally, she has created and managed many support services that include counseling, mental health education and treatment, peer mentoring and navigation. Woolfolk also provides basic needs for many in need, such as a weekly food bank and a community kitchen, and provides monthly meals monthly to youth during the summer. Woolfolk has been recognized by several community organizations for the work she has done in the community. Of all of her accomplishments and awards, she is most proud of being chosen as a child of God.
Blacks in Colorado Hall of Fame Inductee
Ronald "Ron" Glen Miles (posthumous award)
Ronald “Ron” Glen Miles was a Grammy nominated jazz musician and composer, known for his kindness, modesty, and a desire to help others.
Miles was born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1963 and moved to Denver with his family in 1974, the year he started playing music. He attended Denver East High School and released his debut album “Distance for Safety” in 1987. Miles went on to record 11 more albums, including the critically acclaimed “I Am a Man” in 2017, and “Rainbow Sign,” his 2020 debut on the iconic Blue Note record label that was influenced by the death of his father.
In addition to leading his own bands, Miles performed in the ensembles of top jazz artists such as Joshua Redman, Bill Frisell, Mercer Ellington, Don Byron, Myra Melford, Joe Henry, Madeleine Peyroux, Jason Moran, and many others.
The library is offering several virtual events and programs in honor of Black Heritage Month, information about them can be found at https://www.denverlibrary.org/blackhistory.