County of Marin - News Releases - MLK Humanitarian Awards

For Immediate Release
March 02, 2020

Human Rights Commission Honors Humanitarians

MLK Jr. Awards go to 3 teens, 2 adults who have made an impact

San Rafael, CA – The Marin County Human Rights Commission has honored three local teens and two adults for their impassioned efforts toward human rights during a ceremony February 27 in San Rafael.

High school seniors Sylvia Potovsky, Sonia Saltzman, and Ava Francis-Hall were recipients of 2019-2020 Youth Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Awards, and Dominque McDowell and Alexis Wise were bestowed with Adult MLK Jr. Humanitarian Awards. Dr. Itoco Garcia, Superintendent of Sausalito Marin City Schools, was the guest speaker at the ceremony, which took place at McInnis Park Golf Center Restaurant.

The Human Rights Commission was established in April 1966 by a unanimous vote of the Marin County Board of Supervisors to promote measures to eliminate prejudice, intolerance and discrimination against any group because of race, religion, national origin, sex, age, cultural background, sexual orientation or disability.

Get to know this year’s recipients:

Sylvia Potovsky – A senior at Sir Francis Drake High School in San Anselmo, Sylvia is the president of Sunrise Club (which focuses on climate change), a member of the Eco-Action Club (garden and sustainability) and the Interact Club (community service). She is captain of the field hockey team and a volunteer with Ritter Center and the Sunrise Movement.

Sonia Saltzman – A senior at Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley, Sonia is a member of the Marin County Youth Commission, Being Adept (a drugs and alcohol education program for middle schoolers), Model United Nations, the Mill Valley Youth Advisory Council, and has been a Marin Teen Girl Ambassador the past four years.

Ava Francis-Hall – A senior at Novato High School, Ava is the media and communications coordinator for the Marin County Youth Commission, a  participant in Raising Awareness for Cultural Empathy, a weekly volunteer at the Ceres Community Kitchen, an a summer counselor for the Tech Trek Camp put on by the American Association of University Women (AAUW).

Dominique McDowell – A San Rafael resident, Dominque built a program at the Marin City Health and Wellness Center to serve those struggling with opioid and alcohol addiction. He has contracted with the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on addiction and homeless services and has worked closely with the Probation Department and the jail re-entry team. Also, he has partnered with the Marin Homelessness Prevention Steering Committee and HHS’ Medication Assisted Treatment Recovery Team to improve services to clients.

Alexis Wise – A Marin City resident, Alexis founded Wise Choices for Girls in 2010 and serves as director. The organization is a Marin City-based mentoring group for girls from 13 to 18 years of age. She has volunteered with the Hannah Project, which boosts academic proficiency and college attendance for Marin City youths and other low-income youths of color. She has served as a board member for the Marin City Health and Wellness Center Board and assisted in many aspects with Transitional Age Youth (TAY), which provides wellness and recovery services to young people.


Christine Shaw
Equal Employment Specialist
Human Resources

Marin County Civic Center
3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite 415
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6189
Email: Christine Shaw