The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) is the trade association of more than 200 African American-owned community newspapers around the U.S. It was founded 75 years ago, and is still going strong today.
Its annual National Leadership Awards Reception, sponsored in part by General Motors, took place during the recent Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 48th Annual Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. The awards reception’s objective is to “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.” This year, nine outstanding national leaders were honored for their contributions. The 2018 Leadership Award Recipients included:
- The Honorable James E. Clyburn (SC-D)
- Kellee Edwards, travel TV personality
- The Honorable Al Green (TX-D)
- Jahana Hayes, National Education Leader
- Norman K. Jenkins, president/founder Capstone Development
- Arsha Jones, innovative entrepreneur
- Wally R. Smith, Professor of Sickle Cell Disease, Virginia Commonwealth University
- The Honorable Maxine Waters (CA-D)
- Laura Wooten, Voting Rights leader and longest working poll worker
The room was filled with progressive and forward thinking African Americans, legislators, politicians, community change agents and more. When the honorable Maxine Waters stepped on the stage, the audience roared in approval. During her acceptance speech, she used her platform to ensure the audience was well-informed on the importance of the Black vote.
She made a plea to the members of the NNPA to “Get our communities out to vote!” She went on to say, “I want you, in whatever way that you do what you do, to please allocate all of the fundraisers to the get out and vote operations in our communities. We need people who registered, who are voting, who are beginning to understand our power, so that we can begin to change the direction of this country. It is no secret that, as was said by Ben Chavis, that the president doesn’t like me and I don’t like him either!”
Representative Waters dropped a lot of gems during her acceptance speech. However, her overall message was clear: Get out and vote!