Laurel Ridge welcomes Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator to Middletown Campus this week

For Immediate Release:
February 27, 2023

Primary Media Contact:
Sally Voth
Public Relations Specialist
[email protected]
Phone: 540-868-7134

Janelle Washington
Janelle Washington is the illustrator of “Choosing Brave: How Mamie Till-Mobley and Emmett Till Sparked the Civil Rights Movement," a Caldecott Honor book.

Laurel Ridge Community College is thrilled to have the opportunity to welcome award-winning paper-cut and silhouette artist Janelle Washington to our Middletown Campus on Thursday, March 2. Washington is a self-taught artist who illustrated the Caldecott Honor-winning book, “Choosing Brave: How Mamie Till-Mobley and Emmett Till Sparked the Civil Rights Movement.”

The picture book is a biography of Mamie Till-Mobley, whose 14-year-old son Emmett’s brutal murder was racially motivated in 1955.

Washington, who also received the Coretta Scott King-John Steptoe New Talent Award for her illustrations, has silhouettes housed in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

She is participating in two events – both of which are free and open to the public – at the college this Thursday. The first is a Lunch & Learn scheduled for 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Cornerstone Hall, Room 601. We do ask that you RSVP to this lunch at, or by calling (540) 664-5027.

Later that evening, from 5:30 – 7 p.m., the college is hosting a reception for Washington, whose work will be on display in the Delores E. Sekel Art Atrium in Cornerstone Hall from this Wednesday through mid-April. The Virginia native will be signing copies of “Choosing Brave,” which will be for sale through Winchester Book Gallery. 

“Event sponsors, Laurel Ridge Black Student Union and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council are excited to bring Janelle Washington to the college to not just celebrate her award-winning book, but also because the story of Mamie Till-Mobley and Emmett Till represents an opportunity for continuing education, the strength of history and the power of storytelling,” said Laurel Ridge development officer and DEI Council member Andy Gyurisin.

Learn more about Washington and her work at


Founded in 1970, Laurel Ridge Community College is a multi-campus public institution of higher education. With three locations — Middletown, Warrenton, and Luray-Page County — the College serves eight localities in the Shenandoah Valley and northern Piedmont regions. The localities are the counties of Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren and the city of Winchester. Laurel Ridge offers more than 75 associate degree and certificate programs in a wide variety of disciplines, in addition to providing access to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs offered on site by a four-year institution. Laurel Ridge also serves the business community by offering workforce preparation programs for employees and employers. Laurel Ridge serves more than 9,000 unduplicated credit students and more than 11,000 individuals in professional development and business and industry courses annually.

Laurel Ridge Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate degrees. Laurel Ridge Community College also may offer credentials such as certificates and diplomas at approved degree levels. Questions about the accreditation of Laurel Ridge Community College may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (

Laurel Ridge Community College is an equal opportunity institution providing educational and employment opportunities, programs, services, and activities. Laurel Ridge shall promote and maintain equal employment and educational opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, marital status, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions including lactation, age (except when age is a bona fide occupational qualification), status as a veteran, national origin, or other non-merit factors. Laurel Ridge also prohibits sexual misconduct including sexual violence or harassment. Inquiries may be directed to the Associate Vice President, Human Resources, [email protected]173 Skirmisher Lane, Middletown, VA 22645, 540-868-7226.

Laurel Ridge Community College was known as Lord Fairfax Community College until June 2022. For consistency purposes, the college will be referenced as Laurel Ridge going forward.