Assistant DA Willie Santana Receives MLK, Jr. Award for Service & AdvocacyPosted: 01/25/2016
On Monday, January 18, 2016, the Morristown Task Force on Diversity honored Assistant District Attorney General Willie Santana at its 7th Annual Breakfast and Celebration of the continuing influence and legacy of the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In recognition of his work as Chairman of the Hispanic Outreach Leadership Association (H.O.L.A.) of the Lakeway Area, General Santana received the 2016 MLK, Jr. Award for Service and Advocacy. His wife and children accompanied him during this special event at the First Presbyterian Church Family Life Center in Morristown, Tennessee where Navy Reserve Force Master Chief Clarence “C.J.” Mitchell, Ph.D. was the Keynote Speaker.
Each year, Morristown’s Task Force on Diversity solicits nominations from area residents for three community awards in order to “help lift up those whose unselfish service shines as reminders that the ongoing work of bringing hope and justice into the world is our calling.” The Task Force promotes nominees of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for Service and Advocacy who are (1) engaged in providing services and/or advocacy for the human rights of those marginalized because of poverty, race or ethnicity, national origin, gender, age or any other reason; and, (2) who have publicly demonstrated and accomplished goals that have given voice and visibility to those who are marginalized.
Mr. William H. Thomason submitted Santana’s nomination to the Task Force based upon his significant contributions via H.O.L.A. to the Latino community specifically and the Morristown community in general. H.O.L.A. Lakeway is a CEDnet (Community Economic Development Network) group whose mission is linking the Latino population with organizations and businesses to promote strong and unified communities. Under Santana’s leadership, H.O.L.A. persuaded the Morristown Utility System to allow all Morristown residents to change their utility service to another address using a form of identification other than a driver’s license or passport, organized a Latino food festival to share the Latino culture with the entire community, and initiated a language exchange program for the ever-increasing bi-lingual population.
Upon receiving this award, Santana stated that he was “both humbled and honored,” and shared the award with his team at H.O.L.A. In reflecting upon Dr. King’s legacy, he noted, “It will take us time to fully realize Dr. King’s dream, but we must continue to dare ourselves to greater challenges and do the work to make change happen.” Santana says he’s “just getting started” with his work at H.O.L.A. and wants “to make [his] corner of the world a little better than [he] found it.”
General Santana joined our Office as a prosecutor in October 2015 and is assigned to the White Collar/Elder Abuse Units. He is a 2014 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law where he served as Managing Editor of the Tennessee Journal of Law & Policy and participated in various advocacy activities. Prior to attending law school, he served as a U.S. Army intelligence analyst and was recognized for his work supporting operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. General Santana is a graduate of the Warrington College of Business Administration at the University of Florida. In addition to his active participation in H.O.L.A., he serves on the Board of the Morristown Hamblen Humane Society.
We look forward to seeing what General Santana accomplishes next and congratulate him for this most befitting honor!