(L-R) Broadway costume designer Emilio Sossa was tapped to give Irene Gandy her “Move On Award.” Isisara Bey, MOWFF artistic director celebrated Gandy. Credit: (Jacques Benovil/The Washington Informer)

“We know our history in America is taught inaccurately. We know it is knowingly mistaught,” said Raben. “We tell the unknown stories of the movement, the icons, and the foot soldiers and at every event, we ask students ‘what is the civil right you want to fight for?’”

House Majority Whip Rep. Jim Clyburn, (D-SC) presented the John Robert Lewis Lifetime Legacy award to his Congressional colleague Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif). The award is given to those who, like Lewis, have worked to improve the dignity of all people, no matter their circumstances. Clyburn and Lee met 50 years ago at the 1972 Democratic National Convention as delegates for Shirley Chisholm’s run for President. He spoke about how the Congressional work and friendship with Lee have grown over the years.

“Most people in Congress call Barbara Lee the real conscious of the United States Congress,” Clyburn said.

(L-R) DC native actor Jeffrey Wright presents the “Move On Award” to producer/director George Wolfe. (Jacques Benovil/The Washington Informer)

In accepting her award Lee referenced her Black Panther Party and community worker roots from her early Oakland-Berkley, California days. She thanked MOWFF for hosting a screening of her NAACP Image Award-winning documentary “Barbara Lee: Speaking Truth to Power” which is now on Amazon Prime. Lee then quoted Lewis in her acceptance remarks referencing MOWFF’s work.

“Ours is not the struggle of one day, one week or one year. Ours is not the struggle of one judicial appointment or one Presidential term,” Lee said quoting Lewis. “Ours is the struggle of a lifetime or maybe many lifetimes. Anyone of us in each generation must do our part.”

 Jonathan Capehart, was MOWFF gala Master of Ceremonies. Capehart is a Washington Post opinion columnist and host of MSNBC’s “The Sunday Show.” (Jacques Benovil/The Washington Informer)

Irene Gandy and George Wolfe were recipients of the “March On Award.” The award was created by MOWFF recognizing leaders in organizations who have committed to the principles of civil rights has been unwavering.

Gandy was the first woman of color to be a registered Broadway press agent. She also is a two-time Tony Award-winning producer. Gandy began her career in 1968 as a publicist with Douglas Turner Ward and Robert Hooks’ Negro Ensemble Company. She has worked on more than 100 Broadway productions. Her recent “Tedx Broadway” presentation was cleverly titled, “50 Shades of Broadway.” Broadway costume designer Emilio Sosa, chairman of the American Theatre Wing in New York City presented Gandy with her award.

“Irene is the mother, the big sister and friend to everyone on Broadway,” said Sosa about Gandy whom he met 12 years ago while working on the revival of “Porgy and Bess.” “I knew I had to meet this woman who was commanding the room. There has not been a time that I could not call her for advice, for encouragement and just for love.”

  (L-R) House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) presents the “ohn Robert Lewis Lifetime Legacy Award” to Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif) at the MOWFF gala. (Jacques Benovil/The Washington Informer)

Honoring “March On Award” recipient Wolfe was native Washingtonian, Jeffrey Wright. A Tony-, Golden Globe-, and Emmy-winning actor, Wright has worked with Wolfe for 30 years. He called Wolfe his “north star.” Their collaborations range from “Angels in America” to the forthcoming biopic “Rustin,” about Bayard Rustin civil rights activist and planner of the 1963 March on Washington.

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Brenda Siler is an award-winning journalist and public relations strategist. Her communications career began in college as an advertising copywriter, a news reporter, public affairs producer/host and a...

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