In honor of Nelson Mandela’s 67-year commitment to social justice, the House of Mandela and Reflecting Freedom recognized the life-changing work of some of Jacksonville’s foremost social justice leaders last week at the Nelson Mandela International Day Jax – Kickoff to Freedom Gala. Operation New Hope’s Founder and CEO Kevin Gay was honored with the inaugural House of Mandela Reflecting Freedom Award for Community Impact for his years of service to the community and dedication to returning citizens in the field of reentry.

“Being honored with the House of Mandela Reflecting Freedom Award comes with a great responsibility to live up to,” says Gay. “There are few other people in the world who have been so closely identified with Freedom, Service, Unity and Sacrifice than Nelson Mandela. It is my great hope that my work will continue to honor his legacy, and that by doing so, others will be inspired to work for Freedom and Unity as well. “

To watch Gay’s acceptance video – click here.

At this year’s Nelson Mandela International Day Jacksonville, awards were also given to the following honorees:

AWARD FOR PUBLIC SERVICE: Melissa Nelson – State Attorney for Florida’s Fourth Judicial Circuit

To watch Nelson’s acceptance video – click here.

AWARD FOR EDUCATION: Dr. Jennifer Brown – Executive Director of KIPP Schools Jacksonville

To watch Brown’s acceptance video – click here.

AWARD FOR CORPORATE IMPACT: Darnell Smith – Florida Blue’s Market President for North Florida Region

To watch Smith’s acceptance video – click here.