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Defenders of Democracy Award

September 23, 2022 @ 12:30 pm 1:00 pm

Join the Center for Politics on Friday, September 23, 2022, at noon in the Rotunda at the University of Virginia for the 2022 Defenders of Democracy Award ceremony to honor and recognize Private First Class Harry A. Dunn, Sergeant Aquilino Gonell and Officer Daniel Hodges.

On January 6, 2021, a joint session of the U.S. Congress met to certify the electoral votes from the 50 states and the District of Columbia for the 2020 presidential election as prescribed by the U.S. Constitution. As the U.S House of Representatives and U.S. Senate convened for the official process of certification, rioters stormed the Capitol, overwhelmed police, broke into offices, destroyed property, and threatened lives. The rioters were emboldened by repeated false claims of widespread voter fraud during the 2020 presidential election.

Tragically, more than 100 officers were injured in the January 6, 2021 attacks. A bipartisan Senate report found that at least seven people had lost their lives in connection with the insurrection, including at least four police officers who died by suicide in the months after they responded to the attack. As of August 2022, more than 840 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the attacks on the Capitol.

The Center for Politics honors and recognizes all of the officers and individuals who responded to the call of duty to protect the U.S. Capitol, members of the U.S. Congress, Congressional staff, journalists and other public servants on January 6, 2021 as the legislative branch of America’s democracy carried out the Constitutionally prescribed certification of the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Despite the challenges of being in the public sphere while continuing full duty, Officers Dunn, Gonell and Hodges have testified before the U.S. House select committee investigating January 6, 2021 and remain committed to seeking justice and accountability in order to prevent future violence and attacks on the electoral process.

About the Award

The Center for Politics Defenders of Democracy award was established in 2022 by the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia with special project award funding provided by the Larry J. Sabato Foundation. The award honors and recognizes individuals whose positive actions help improve or strengthen democracy.


University of Virginia
Charlottesville, Virginia 22903 United States
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General Visitor Parking

Central Grounds Garage 

The Central Grounds Garage is conveniently located under the University Bookstore at 400 Emmet Street, and is near Newcomb Hall, Memorial Gymnasium, Brown College, and the Clemons Library. Hourly parking may be paid via the ParkMobile app.

Overnight parking is not permitted. Visitors needing overnight parking accommodations may purchase a temporary BLUE permit to park in the lots at John Paul Jones Arena. Please contact the Parking and Transportation Office at parking@virginia.edu or by calling 434-924-7231 for more information.

ADA Accessible Parking & Paths

Maps detailing the locations of reserved ADA spaces and accessible pathways can be found here: https://www.fm.virginia.edu/depts/operations/ges.html

ADA parking spaces are first come, first serve. If an ADA space is not available, vehicles with a DMV issued placard or license plate may park in a metered space for up to 4 hours.