City of Akron Director of DEI Esther Thomas to Receive Honor during 34th Annual Harold K. Stubbs Awards Ceremony

Akron, Ohio, March 15, 2024  — Today, City of Akron Director of DEI Esther Thomas will be recognized with a Harold K. Stubbs Humanitarian Award. The 34th Annual Harold K. Stubbs Awards Celebration, taking place tonight at the Hilton Akron Fairlawn, will honor Thomas for her work in diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The Harold K. Stubbs Humanitarian Award, sponsored by the St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church of Akron, recognizes those who have made contributions in areas such as social action, government, business, medicine and law.

“It is humbling to have my professional work recognized through this award,” said Director Thomas. “I am thankful and will continue to serve our community with love and joy.”

The awards program honors Stubbs, who was known as the city’s first Black law director, a municipal court judge and for his many civic activities. Stubbs, who passed away in 1989, was actively involved with the Church. The Church has annually recognized individuals for their community service with this award.

Between eight and 10 college scholarships are also presented during the celebration. Since its inception, this program has awarded more than $4 million in educational aid.

Esther Thomas - Bio

An Akron native and lifelong student of justice and equity, Esther L. Thomas recently joined the City of Akron as Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion after 20+ years of additional public service. She has held positions of Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, Magistrate with Summit County Juvenile Court, and Human Resources Director with Community Action Akron Summit. Additionally, Thomas chaired the Akron Civil Rights Commission for 3 years.

While at the Sheriff’s Office, Thomas was the project director for year-round Faith & Blue events, designed to unite community and public safety professionals. Thomas earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Amherst College in Amherst MA and her Juris Doctor (JD) from the University of Cincinnati College of Law.