History of the NOVA Chapter of the National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice
During the winter of 1985, a dozen individuals from the various fractions of the criminal justice arena in Northern Virginia met to discuss and explore the idea of forming a NABCJ interest group. The group discussed what they believed to be the mission and purpose of the National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice, and whether Northern Virginia could best be served by establishing a chapter with the Washington, D.C. chapter being in such close proximity. The general consensus of the group was a resounding decision that Northern Virginia could benefit by establishing a chapter independent of the Washington, D.C. chapter. Ultimately, a group of relentless individuals continued meeting for the next several months, raising seed funds through dances and various other activities to provide the interest group with a financial base. This effort was spearheaded by Mr. Thomas Scott, who would later be elected to serve as the chapter’s first president. Mr. Scott served as chapter president for two consecutive terms.
Finally, during the end of the summer of 1986, members of the interest group started drafting Bylaws for the Northern Virginia (NOVA) chapter of NABCJ. These Bylaws would later be presented at a NABCJ National Board Meeting in St. Louis, Missouri. In September of 1986, the Northern Virginia (NOVA) interest group of NABCJ was granted full rights and privileges of a chartered chapter of the National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice.
For many of the individuals who made the NOVA chapter of NABCJ a reality, not only did they give of their personal time and funds, but were dedicated toward the continued development of the chapter. Special thanks were given to Mr. Jim Eaglin (Past National Chair) for his time, attention, leadership and guidance as the NOVA chapter struggled to come into being.
Subsequent to receiving its charter, the Northern Virginia chapter was involved in a variety of activities and projects. In 1988 the Northern Virginia chapter hosted a state conference in Alexandria, Virginia, which was very successful. Over the years, the chapter has provided food baskets for Thanksgiving, provided emergency financial assistance to families in need, adopted a class at Lyles Crouch Traditional Academy, and hosted a variety of activities to raise funds for the Thomas R. Monroe Scholarship.
Each year at our National Conference, several individuals are nominated for various awards. The Northern Virginia chapter is proud to have several of their nominees chosen for awards. Judges Thomas R. Monroe (1989), Gerald Bruce Lee (2000), and William T. Newman (2001) have been the recipient of the Medger Evers Award, which is given for dedication to the unselfish ideals of fairness, equality, and justice. The award is named after the slain civil rights leader, Medger Evers, whose struggles to ensure equal justice for all Americans ended with his making the ultimate and supreme sacrifice.
The chapter is also proud to have had Ms. Elsie Taylor receive the Mary Church Terrell award in 1989. This award is given for activism and positive change in the field of criminal justice. The award is named after the freedom fighter, community leader, and church reformer whose efforts helped pave the way for full citizenship for African Americans in this country. In 2001, John Marshall, the former Director of the United States Marshals Service, received the William L. Hastie Award. This award is for national leadership in the field of criminal justice. The award is named after the first African American appointed to the federal bench. Judge Hastie was appointed in 1973 by President Franklin Roosevelt to the United States District Court for the Virgin Islands and distinguished himself as an outstanding jurist for many years. In 2000, Our past chapter president, Ornetta Lockette Slaughter was awarded the Chairman’s award for Leadership and Chapter Development.
Past Chapter Presidents
- Thomas Scott
- Ornetta Lockette Campbell
- Robert McRae Brown
- Carmen Banks
- Ornetta Lockette Slaughter
For several years, as a result of changing lives and employment, the chapter experienced a hiatus. However, after attending a regional conference in 1996, efforts were pursued to get the chapter re-chartered. In July 1997, the Northern Virginia Chapter was re-chartered.
Although our membership is not enormous, our spirit and vitality is insurmountable. Our members have been involved with the organization locally and nationally. Several members have presented workshops at the Virginia chapters state conferences, as well as at the National Conferences. Ornetta Lockette Slaughter served not only as chapter president, she also served as President of the Presidents Council for three years, Northeast Regional Representative, National Vice President on the National Board of Directors and National President.