Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pollard receives Susan B. Anthony Award for contributions to gender equality

Deborah Smith Pollard, associate professor of English literature, has received the 32nd annual Susan B. Anthony Award from UM-Dearborn.

Presented by the campus’ Commission for Women, the award recognizes a member of the UM-Dearborn community who has made significant contributions to gender equality.


Pollard received the award during a dinner ceremony on April 15 at Fairlane Center South. Patricia Ireland, an attorney, social activist, author and former president of the National Organization for Women, was the evening’s keynote speaker.

Pollard has been a role model of the Susan B. Anthony motto, “Failure is impossible,” according to those who nominated her for the award.

Her many academic, professional, scholarly and personal achievements include being a former director of UM-Dearborn’s African and African-American Studies Program, co-sponsoring campus events and teaching the course “Black Women in Literature, Film and Music” for the Women’s and Gender Studies program at UM-Dearborn.

The Library of Michigan In 2008 named her book, “When the Church is your Party,” one of 20 Michigan Notable Books. Pollard’s book is a collection of essays on topics in gospel music, both in Detroit and on the national level, including praise and worship, women gospel music announcers and “holy hip hop.”

In addition to her academic role at UM-Dearborn, Pollard is well known for her gospel music program on Detroit radio powerhouse WJLB-FM. In 2005 she was named Gospel Announcer of the Year in the annual Stellar Awards.  

Last month, Pollard received UM-Dearborn’s Distinguished Service Award at the campus’s annual Honor Scholars and Faculty Awards ceremony.

Also, Hoda Amine, director of the Family Domestic Violence Intervention Program in her private practice Dearborn Counseling Services, and Deborah LaBelle, an attorney, professor, writer and advocate, received Susan B. Anthony Community Awards.

The Commission for Women presents the Community Award annually to members of the local community whose lives and deeds exemplify the dedication, fortitude, political agitation and involvement of Susan B. Anthony on behalf of women.

A community activist and humanitarian supporting and fighting for justice for women, children and the elderly, Amine served as a delegate in 2004 for the Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) and traveled to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon to meet with Queen Rania of Jordan, the first ladies of Syria and Lebanon, and many other dignitaries and NGOs.  

Amine is a longtime active member of UM-Dearborn’s College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters’ SOAR Advisory Board, and is a member of numerous local, national and international humanitarian and human service organizations.  

LaBelle has served as lead counsel in more than a dozen class action cases that have successfully challenged policies affecting the treatment of incarcerated men, women and juveniles and their families.  She has represented clients before the U.S. Supreme Court and in international forums. In her most recent case, LaBelle reformed the law to prevent the rape and abuse of women in a prison in Michigan, a case that prompted the jury to offer an apology to the women on behalf of the people of the state of Michigan.

LaBelle was the first American recognized by Human Rights Watch as a Human Rights Monitor for her work on behalf of incarcerated women and girls. Her publications on the topics of human rights of women in detention include “Women at the Margins, Neglect, Punishment and Resistance,” “Ensuring Rights for All:  Realizing Human Rights for Prisoners in Bringing Human Rights Home,” and “Bringing Human Rights Home to the World of Detention.”

LaBelle is a Senior Soros Justice Fellow and, in addition to her private practice, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Juvenile Life Without Parole Initiative.