PRESS ROOM: NNPA 2019 National Leadership Awards to Honor Eight of the Nation’s Groundbreakers
NNPA NEWSWIRE — The 2019 honorees are the Honorable Karen Bass, U.S. Representative (D-CA); the Honorable Elijah E. Cummings, U.S. Representative (D-MD); the Honorable Bobby Scott, U.S. Representative (D-VA); the Honorable Bennie Thompson, U.S. Representative (D-MS); Ray Curry, Secretary-Treasurer of the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agriculture (UAW); Shani W. Hosten, Vice President Multicultural Leadership, AARP; Dr. Kim Smith-Whitley, Clinical Director of Hematology and Director of the Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP); and Crystal Windham, Director, Cadillac Interior Design, General Motors.
By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Eight national leaders and activists are scheduled to be honored by the National Newspaper Publishers Association when the trade organization hosts its annual National Leadership Awards ceremony on Thursday, September 12th at the Renaissance DC Downtown Hotel in Washington, DC.
The 2019 honorees are the Honorable Karen Bass, U.S. Representative (D-CA); the Honorable Elijah E. Cummings, U.S. Representative (D-MD); the Honorable Bobby Scott, U.S. Representative (D-VA); the Honorable Bennie Thompson, U.S. Representative (D-MS); Ray Curry, Secretary-Treasurer of the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agriculture (UAW); Shani W. Hosten, Vice President Multicultural Leadership, AARP; Dr. Kim Smith-Whitley, Clinical Director of Hematology and Director of the Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP); and Crystal Windham, Director, Cadillac Interior Design, General Motors.
The awards honor individuals who are national leaders in their specific fields and whose actions have helped to improve the quality of life for African Americans and others.
The NNPA, the trade organization representing African American-owned newspapers and media companies throughout the country, began the Leadership Awards in 2014 when it was decided that decided that the optimal time to host such an event would be during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s (CBCF) Annual Legislative Conference (ALC) a week-long gathering that’s held each September.
The CBCF ALC is the largest annual gathering in the United States. The shared objective of the conference and the NNPA National Leadership Awards is to network, collaborate, and strategize collectively for the advancement and empowerment of Black America.
“We are delighted to celebrate this year’s honorees,” said NNPA Chair and Houston Forward Times Publisher Karen Carter Richards.
“We salute them for the leadership they have displayed in the Black community and for their overall support of the Black Press,” Richards said.
“The Black Press is needed now more than ever. We are the daily recorders of our history. We are, and forever will be, The Original Black Press of America,” Richards said.
NNPA’s corporate partners include General Motors; RAI Services Company; Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; and Pfizer, Inc.
NNPA corporate sponsors include Toyota; Ford Motor Co.; AARP; Northrop Grumman; Eli Lilly; Wells Fargo; Volkswagen; UAW; API; Walt Disney World Parks & Resorts; Comcast; U.S. Census; CBCF; Koch Industries; Ascension; and AmeriHealth.
About the honorees:
The Honorable Karen Bass, U.S. Representative (D-CA), was re-elected to her fifth term representing the 37th Congressional District in November 2018. She serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs where she is the Chair of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations.
As a member of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Bass is also working to craft sound criminal justice reforms. She also worked to protect intellectual property right infringements that threaten the economic health of the 37th District. Bass also serves as the Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.
The Honorable Elijah E. Cummings, U.S. Representative (D-MD), who serves as the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, has dedicated his life of service to uplifting and empowering the people he is sworn to represent. He began his career of public service in the Maryland House of Delegates, where he served for 14 years and became the first African American in Maryland history to be named Speaker Pro Tem. Since 1996, Cummings has proudly represented Maryland’s 7th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Rep. Cummings often says that our children are the living messages that we send to a future we will never see. In that vein, he is committed to ensuring that our next generation has access to quality healthcare and education, clean air and water, and a strong economy defined by fiscal responsibility.
The Honorable Bobby Scott, U.S. Representative (D-VA), has represented Virginia’s third congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1993. Before serving in Congress, he served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1978 to 1983 and in the Senate of Virginia from 1983 to 1993.
During his tenure in the Virginia General Assembly, Rep. Scott successfully sponsored laws critical to Virginians in education, employment, health care, social services, economic development, crime prevention, and consumer protection.
Serving his 13th term in the United States House of Representatives, the Honorable Bennie Thompson, U.S. Representative (D-MS), represents Mississippi’s Second Congressional District where he has spent his entire life fighting to improve the lives of all.
He is the longest-serving African American elected official in the State of Mississippi and the lone Democrat in the Mississippi Congressional Delegation.
Ray Curry was elected UAW secretary-treasurer at the 37th Constitutional Convention in June 2018.
He was first elected director of UAW Region 8 in June 2014, at the 36th UAW Constitutional Convention in Detroit after having served four years as the region’s assistant director. As Region 8 director, Curry was instrumental in securing new labor agreements with various parts suppliers.
Shani W. Hosten serves as the national voice for AARP’s engagement with African American/Black communities through partnerships with multicultural organizations to drive AARP’s social impact.
She develops innovative strategies and manages culturally relevant AARP offerings and programs that promote brand awareness and engagement within African American communities.
Shani and her team also serve as internal subject matter experts across the AARP Enterprise as it relates to the African American audience.
Dr. Smith-Whitley is the principal investigator for several federally- and private industry-funded clinical research studies, including several clinical trials related to pain prevention and curative therapies.
She is the co-PI for a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI)-sponsored project comparing community health worker support to a mobile health application to facilitate the patient transition from pediatric- to adult-focused care.
Dr. Kim Smith-Whitley’s clinical work has centered on developing quality improvement initiatives to provide evidence-based care for over 1000 children with sickle cell disease followed at CHOP.
She is a strong advocate for increasing sickle cell awareness, advancing research that improves survival and quality of life and improving access to high quality health care for children and adults with sickle cell disease.
Crystal Windham became the first African American female director in GM Design’s history in 2008 and spearheaded several award-winning interiors, including the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu and 2014 Chevrolet Impala.
Windham encourages students to consider higher education and careers in art and design through GM Design’s You Make a Difference program.