(Courtesy Photo)

In perhaps the best produced National Leadership Awards – or any virtual conference – since the pandemic forced most to move away from in-person gatherings, the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) celebrated its annual soiree in style.

Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Congresswoman Cori Bush (D-Missouri), Dr. James Hildreth, Dr. Ebony Hilton, and Olympic record-setter Allyson Felix, each received recognition for their excellence and commitment to the Black community and the world at-large.

“Thank you to Black Press of America and the National Newspaper Publishers Association for this gracious award and, to my brother Dr. Benjamin Chavis, Chair Karen Richards, National Correspondent Stacy Brown, and the countless others who do the important work to keep our communities informed, engaged, and motivated through these unprecedented times,” Sen. Warnock stated.

“This award is not about me, but the millions of Black Americans in Georgia and across the country who continuously display their courage, perseverance, and fortitude as we navigate increasingly challenging times in our communities and throughout our world. Know that I will continue to do my part in the United States Senate to uplift Georgia voices in the continual march towards what Dr. King called the beloved community,” the senator concluded.

Dr. Hilton, who has led the fight against misinformation about the coronavirus and who has become a leading advocate for transparency surrounding COVID-19, said there’s still much work to do.

“I cannot begin to tell you how honored I am to be considered. But, I have to be honest, it’s difficult to think of my efforts as worthy when there is so much left to do,” Dr. Hilton asserted.

“One thing I can promise is to continue trying my best and showing up in hopes of truly deserving this prestigious recognition.”
While Felix, who won a record-setting 11 gold medals during the Olympic Games, couldn’t attend, other awardees proudly acknowledged the well-deserved recognition.
“I am humbled to receive a National Leadership Award from the NNPA/Black Press of America. As we know, Black journalists have been denied a platform in this country for far too long,” Congresswoman Bush stated.

“The excellence of Black journalism should never be taken for granted. From the incredible writers in St. Louis to the journalists pushing for equality abroad, I am deeply honored to be in the company of such dedicated individuals who lead our campaign for a better future for every human being, starting with those who have the least.”

Sen. Booker remarked that he also felt humbled by the honor.
“I’m humbled and honored to be honored by the National Newspaper Publishers Association. The members of the NNPA provide an invaluable service to their communities, shining a light on issues that affect Black Americans and our families,” the New Jersey senator proclaimed.

“I stand with the NNPA and its membership in their efforts to inform, educate, and advance their mission of promoting a more just, equal society.”
Dr. Hildreth, the president and CEO of Meharry Medical College, also expressed appreciation.

“I am honored to be recognized by the National Newspaper Publishers Association and Black Press USA as one of this year’s National Leadership Award recipients,” stated Dr. Hildreth, a member of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Board that approve the COVID-19 vaccines.

“I am humbled to be named among such a prestigious group of honorees who have impacted so many lives through their work,” Dr. Hildreth remarked.

“I am grateful to NNPA, its member newspapers, and the Black Press USA for their efforts to serve as trusted sources of information for people all across the country.”
NNPA Chair Karen Carter Richards, NNPA President Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., and New Orleans Data News Publisher Terry Jones hosted the awards reception.

The reception included conversations with singer Regina Belle, actress Gabrielle Union, and actor Louis Gossett, Jr.
Produced by NNPA News Director Norman Rich, the program garnered praise from viewers and the NNPA’s executive board.

“Amazing production,” Carter Richards wrote in a text message.
“It was an awesome reception,” added NNPA National Secretary Jackie Hampton, publisher of the Mississippi Link.

NNPA 2nd Vice Chair and Publisher of the County News in Charlotte, N.C., concluded, “awesome teamwork.”

Click here to view the NNPA National Leadership Awards Reception.