Black Experience

Kamala Harris Honored During Black Press Week

The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) will honor Sen. Kamala Harris on Wednesday with the 2018 Newsmaker of the Year Award during the association’s 2018 Black Press Week.

“The honorable Kamala Harris, the second African-American woman and first South Asian American senator in U.S. history, is an outstanding choice for the NNPA’s 2018 Newsmaker of the Year Award,” said Dorothy Leavell, chairman of the NNPA and publisher of the Crusader Newspapers in Chicago and Gary, Ind.

During the event at the Rayburn House Office Building in D.C., the NNPA will celebrate the senator’s efforts to raise wages for working people, reform the criminal justice system and expand health care access for all Americans.

“In all of my years of covering news in our community, Senator Harris has been one of the smartest, most fearless, steadfast and caring politicians that I have come to know,” said Amelia Ashley-Ward, the new NNPA Foundation chair and publisher of the San Francisco Sun-Reporter. “She has a lot to offer the world. … We are so fortunate to have her advocating on our behalf.”

The theme of this year’s Black Press Week is “Celebrating 191 Years of the Black Press of America: Publishing Truth to Empower.” Black publishers, media professionals, civil rights leaders and lawmakers from across the country attend the annual event, which runs this year from March 14-16. On Friday, March 16, Democratic strategist and author Donna Brazile will deliver a keynote address on the state of the Black Press in America.

“When John B. Russwurm and Samuel E. Cornish printed that first issue of Freedom’s Journal they sought to empower Black people to determine their own destiny and to define themselves,” Leavell said. “How iconic, that in 2018, our theme still rings true: ‘Publishing Truth to Empower.'”

Black Press Week will also feature sessions on business development, education reform, and sickle cell disease. Outstanding leaders in the Black community will be honored during the Torch Awards Dinner.

The Torch Award recipients are Dr. Amos Brown, pastor of the San Francisco Third Baptist Church, Rep. Barbara Jean Lee (D-Calif.) and James Farmer, a senior consultant for General Motors.

Ken Barrett, the global chief diversity officer for General Motors, said that Farmer dedicated his career to transforming the automotive industry through diversity and community service.

“I am proud of the invaluable support Jim continues to provide GM and he is truly most deserving of this prestigious honor,” Barrett said.

Leavell agreed.

“The NNPA Foundation, under the leadership of Chairman Amelia Ward, the publisher of the Sun Reporter in San Francisco, California, has chosen some of the most outstanding leaders and trailblazers in the Black community to receive Torch Awards, this year,” Leavell said.

The 2018 Black Press Week partners include the Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Reynolds American (RAI), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Pfizer, Inc. Sponsors include AARP, AmeriHealth, Comcast, Koch Industries, Wells Fargo, AT&T and Volkswagen.

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., the president and CEO of the NNPA, said that the NNPA and the NNPA Foundation have joined to celebrate the 191-year anniversary of the Black Press in America.

“This year, Black Press Week convenes at a time of profound opportunity and responsibility to ensure a record turnout for Black American voters in the upcoming midterm elections across the nation,” Chavis said. “The new strategic alliance between the NNPA and the NAACP bodes well to advance civil rights and the economic, political, and cultural empowerment of Black America.”

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