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NNPA Honors Champions Of The Black Press
9/22/2016 4:03:20 PM

Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson
By Sarafina Wright (NNPA Newswire Contributor)

Black publishers representing over 200 newspapers gathered to honor some of the top leaders in Washington, D.C. who champion the Black Press and who have helped to improve the quality of life for Black America.

Dr. Benjamin Chavis, Jr., president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), and Denise Rolark-Barnes, the group’s chairwoman, hosted the 2016 National Leadership Awards Reception on Thursday, Sept. 15 at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C.

“We are honored to be back in the nation’s capital to address the business concerns of the NNPA’s 200-plus, Black-owned media companies around the country,” Barnes said.

“Our Annual Leadership Awards Reception, held in conjunction with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc.’s [CBCF] Annual Legislative Conference, is one of NNPA’s signature events that mirrors what so many of our publishers do in their own communities all year long.”

Mollie Belt of the Dallas Examiner, Karen Carter Richards of the Houston Forward Times, Shannon Williams of the Indianapolis Recorder, Dorothy Leavell of the Chicago Crusader, Cheryl Mainor of the Chicago Defender, Rod Doss of the New Pittsburgh Courier and a host of other publishers attended the annual event.

“We gather at a significant moment in America’s history,” Barnes said. “We join the CBCF and others who will pay tribute to the life and legacy of Congressman Charles Rangel, Democratic representative for the 13th Congressional District of New York, who will retire this year after 46 years of national political service.”

Rangel, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and Rep. G.K. Butterfield, Jr. (D-N.C.) received the 2016 Leadership Award where each reiterated the necessity of Black-owned and operated publications.

Rangel said that while he will retire at the end of the Congressional session in order to spend more time with his family, he will continue to provide service as needed for the Congressional Black Caucus, his home state of New York and the rest of the country.

Tony A. Gaskins, Jr., a motivational speaker and life coach received the Millennial Leadership Award for his work with the NBA and Ford Motor Company.

In a prepared statement, Jim Taylor, the vice president of African American Outreach Strategy at AARP, said that his organization is very proud of the ongoing relationship with the NNPA, because both groups share the same commitment and passion for serving the African-American community.

“We are very proud of our ongoing relationship with the NNPA because we share the same commitment and passion for serving the African-American community. They have been a consistent voice of the Black community throughout their great history,” said Taylor. “At AARP, we are a voice for African Americans age 50 and over and their families, as we fight and advocate for issues of importance to this community, particularly in the areas of health security, financial resilience and personal fulfillment.

Chavis agreed with Taylor’s sentiments.

“We admire and salute these transformational leaders,” Chavis said. “At this moment in history, the United States of America is yet at another political, economic and social crossroad. The outcome of the Tuesday, November 8, national elections will have a profound impact on Black America and the whole of humanity.”

Chavis reiterated that the Black Press has a sacred obligation and responsibility to lift up a new generation of leaders and freedom fighters. He also placed a priority goal of getting out the Black vote in the upcoming national elections in November 2016.

“This marks the 189th year of the Black Press in America,” said Chavis. “Since the Freedom’s Journal in March of 1827, the Black Press has continued to be on the frontline of the freedom struggle and movement.”

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