ATLANTA - Atlanta U.S. Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) and media executive Xernona Clayton, will be featured speakers at the 29thPioneer Black Journalist Awards luncheon. The Atlanta Association of Black Journalists (AABJ) awards program will honor the achievements of African-American journalists and award scholarships to deserving college students. The event will be hosted by Atlanta Journal Constitution Beats Dept. Leader Monica Richardson, and will be held at Park Tavern in Atlanta, on Sunday, April 3 from 3:00–5:00 p.m.
Congressman John Lewis, a lifelong advocate of civil liberties, will deliver the keynote address at this year’s event. Lewis played a major role in passing the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and contributed his efforts in securing equality and desegregation in America. Congressman Lewis is the recipient of numerous honors that recognize his commitment to activism, volunteerism and human rights. Most recently, he received the presidential Medal of Freedom.
Xernona Clayton, a civil rights leader and broadcast executive, will be a featured guest speaker at the awards luncheon. Ms. Clayton is the founder, president and CEO of the Trumpet Awards Foundation, Inc., and creator and executive producer of the Trumpet Awards. In recognition of Xernona’s contribution to broadcasting, her community and the nation, AABJ developed the Xernona Clayton Brady Scholarship to support students pursuing a career in journalism. Three local college students will be recognized with this scholarship at this year’s event.
"It is a great pleasure for me to join the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists to recognize excellence in the field at their 29th awards ceremony,” Congressman Lewis said. “I remain deeply indebted to the black press, as does every citizen of this nation. These brave reporters with their pads, pens and cameras played an unforgettable role in the non-violent revolution we call the Civil Rights Movement of the sixties. Their courage and their commitment to risk their lives to publish the truth of injustice in this nation helped to usher in a new America and a better world community. I am delighted to join their celebration on April 3."
At this year’s event, Atlanta Voice publisher Janis Ware will be presented with AABJ’s highest honor, the Pioneer Black Journalist of the Year award. Georgia Public Broadcasting production assistant Anare Holmes will also be honored with AABJ’s Volunteer of the Year award.
Sponsors for the 29th Pioneer Black Journalist Awards include Park Tavern, UPS, CNN, Xerox, Mizani and L’Oreal USA.
ATLANTA ASSOCIATION OF BLACK JOURNALISTS is one of the largest and most influential chapters of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). Since 1976, AABJ has served as the collective voice of the city's African-American media talent, representing communications professionals in print, radio, television, public relations and new media. In previous years, AABJ’s annual Pioneer Black Journalists award has recognized renowned media professionals.