The Atlanta Association of Black Journalists (AABJ) is proudly celebrating 40 years of excellence since its inception in 1976. The award-winning chapter has served as a valuable addition to the esteemed National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). The AABJ has been the home of some of the nation’s most elite minority news reporters, publicists, authors, screenwriters, television correspondents and radio personalities. The AABJ has also given the NABJ two female presidents, including NABJ’s first woman president, Sidmel Estes and then Condace Pressley.
To commemorate its four-decade legacy, the AABJ hosted a Founder’s “Reception and Talkback” at the historic Robert W. Woodruff Library on the campus of local HBCU Clark Atlanta University on February 11. The event was orchestrated by Chairwoman Carla Morrison in collaboration with the CAU Communications Department as this year’s sponsor.
Following the opening acknowledgments to its members, a one-hour discussion was held with AABJ notable founders and leaders, including Stan Washington, AABJ founder and Atlanta Voice editor; Hal Lamar, AABJ founder and Atlanta Voice editor; Angela Robinson, executive producer and host of “IN CONTACT”; Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Ernie Suggs and Jennifer Matthews, an associate producer at CNN and Kennesaw State University instructor. The much-needed conversation led by moderator Blayne Alexander of NBC’s 11 Alive discussed the “AABJ: The Next 40” and touched on a variety of issues circulating in the world of communications.
“We are still talking about the same problems that we were facing years ago as Black journalists and it is a shame. We need to create more platforms to better serve our people and create more jobs. There has been quite a bit of progression but we still have much more to do,” says AABJ founder Stan Washington. The primary focus of this group has been and will continue to use its strength as a collective to push the mainstream media to diversity despite all odds fighting against them.
AABJ president 2016-2018, Cheryl Collier, has high hopes for what is to come for the organization over the next 40 years, “I feel lucky to be in this leadership position at this significant time in our nation’s history. We’re going to meet the challenge of bringing a heightened awareness about AABJ not only to the Atlanta metro at-large but also to black journalists in the Atlanta market who are members of the National organization but not yet local chapter members,” she said.
The AABJ will continue the commemoration of the chapter’s achievements in September at the organization’s gala to honor the founders and pioneers in media.
See photos in the gallery.