Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams speaks at the National Press Club in D.C. on Nov. 15. (Anthony Tilghman/The Washington Informer)
**FILE** Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams speaks at the National Press Club in D.C. on Nov. 15, 2019. (Anthony Tilghman/The Washington Informer)

Stacey Abrams will serve as speaker for Bowie State University’s 2021 commencement on May 21.

In a statement announcing the decision, the university called Abrams a “voting rights champion” because of her efforts to expose voter suppression in Georgia and throughout the U.S.

The former Georgia gubernatorial candidate is widely credited with increasing voter turnout in the state for the 2020 elections, as well as in the state’s Senate runoff election in January. She was nominated for a 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts.

Abrams, who made history in 2019 as the first African American woman to deliver a response to a State of the Union address, holds a Juris Doctor degree from Yale Law School, a master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Texas at Austin and a bachelor’s degree from Spelman College.

She is also the author of the New York Times bestsellers “Our Time Is Now” and “Lead from the Outside.”

The ceremony will air on the university’s website.

Meanwhile, Bryan Stevenson, social justice activist and founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), will deliver the keynote address during Howard University’s commencement ceremony on May 8.

Stevenson is the author of the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller “Just Mercy,” which chronicles a young Black man who was sentenced to die for the murder of a young white woman that he did not commit. The book was adapted into a 2019 film starring Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx.

Stevenson is also a professor of law at the New York University School of Law. He is a graduate of the Harvard Law School and the Harvard School of Government.

“Given the national outcry for social justice that has permeated the country recently, I could think of no more fitting a speaker than Bryan Stevenson to come deliver a message of hope for our graduates,” said Howard President Wayne A.I. Frederick.

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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