Newswire: The Black press honors Senator Kamala Harris with NNPA’s 2018 ‘Newsmaker of the Year Award’ during Black press week

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Senator Kamala Harris (D CA)

WASHINGTON, D.C.—(NNPANewswirePR)—The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) will honor Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) with the 2018 Newsmaker of the Year Award during the NNPA’s 2018 Black Press Week. The Newsmaker event will take place at the Rayburn House Office Building on Wednesday, March 14 at 7pm.
“The Honorable Kamala Harris, the second African American woman and first South Asian American senator in U.S. history, is an outstanding choice for the NNPA’s 2018 Newsmaker of the Year Award,” said Dorothy Leavell, the chairman of the NNPA and publisher of the Crusader Newspapers in Chicago and Gary, Ind.
The NNPA will also celebrate the senator’s efforts to raise wages for working people, reform the criminal justice system, and expand healthcare access for all Americans.
“In all of my years of covering news in our community, Senator Harris has been one of the smartest, most fearless, steadfast and caring politicians that I have come to know,” said Amelia Ashley-Ward, the new NNPA Foundation chair and publisher of the San Francisco Sun-Reporter. “She has a lot to offer the world…we are so fortunate to have her advocating on our behalf.”
The theme of this year’s Black Press Week is “Celebrating 191 Years of the Black Press of America: Publishing Truth to Empower.” Black publishers, media professionals, civil rights leaders and lawmakers from across the country attend the annual event, taking place March 14-16. On Friday, March 16, Democratic strategist and author Donna Brazile will deliver a keynote address on the state of the Black Press in America.
“When John B. Russwurm and Samuel E. Cornish printed that first issue of Freedom’s Journal they sought to empower Black people to determine their own destiny and to define themselves,” said Leavell. “How iconic, that in 2018, our theme still rings true: ‘Publishing Truth to Empower.’”
Black Press Week will also feature sessions on business development, education reform, and sickle cell disease. Outstanding leaders in the Black community will be honored during the Torch Awards Dinner.

The Torch Award recipients are: Dr. Amos Brown, the pastor of the San Francisco Third Baptist Church; Rep. Barbara Jean Lee (D-Calif.); and James Farmer, a senior consultant for General Motors.
Ken Barrett, the global chief diversity officer for General Motors, said that “Jim” Farmer dedicated his career to transforming the automotive industry through diversity and community service. “I am proud of the invaluable support Jim continues to provide GM and he is truly most deserving of this prestigious honor,” said Barrett.
Chairman Leavell agreed. “The NNPA Foundation, under the leadership of Chairman Amelia Ward, the publisher of the Sun Reporter in San Francisco, Calif., has chosen some of the most outstanding leaders and trailblazers in the Black community to receive Torch Awards, this year,” said Leavell.
The 2018 Black Press Week partners include the Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Reynolds American (RAI), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Pfizer, Inc. The 2018 Black Press Week sponsors include AARP, Amerihealth, Comcast, Koch Industries, Wells Fargo, AT&T, and Volkswagen.
Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., the president and CEO of the NNPA, said that the NNPA and the NNPA Foundation have joined together to celebrate the 191-year anniversary of the Black Press in America. “This year, Black Press Week convenes at a time of profound opportunity and responsibility to ensure a record turnout for Black American voters in the upcoming midterm elections across the nation,” said Chavis. “The new strategic alliance between the NNPA and the NAACP bodes well to advance civil rights and the economic, political, and cultural empowerment of Black America.”

ABOUT THE NNPA
The National Newspaper Publishers Association represents more than 200 Black-owned media companies in the United States. The NNPA promotes the profession of journalism and the business of publishing, while celebrating the evolution of the Black Press in America.
 

Rev. William Barber tells Black press: “Bowing down is not an option

By Freddie Allen (Managing Editor, NNPA Newswire)

revbarber1_mwc_fallen_web120.jpgRev. William Barber

            Reverend William Barber, the president of the North Carolina state chapter of the NAACP and leader of the Moral Mondays movement, delivered a rousing keynote address to open the 2017 Mid-Winter Conference of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA).

The theme of the conference was “Strengthening Black-owned Newspapers through Training, Innovation and Technology.” The NNPA partnered with General Motors, Chevrolet, Ford Motor Company, Reynolds American Inc. (RAI), and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to host the conference; Volkswagen, Ascension, Coca-Cola, and the American Association for Cancer Research supported the event as sponsors.

During his speech titled, “Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?” Barber tackled voter suppression in the aftermath of Shelby v. Holder, White evangelicalism and the current political environment in the age of “alternative facts.” Noting that President Woodrow Wilson played the White supremacist propaganda film “Birth of a Nation” in the Oval office in 1911, Barber said that Trump’s ascension and election is not an anomaly in American history.

“This is not the first time that White supremacy has occupied The White House. This is not the first time that America has elected a racist egomaniac,” said Barber, reminding the audience that President Wilson, a former college president, played “Birth” to signal that Reconstruction was over. “Education doesn’t necessarily get racism out of you.” To a chorus of “Amens,” Barber said that the one thing that we have to first decide to do in this moment is that bowing down is not an option.

Recognizing that he was addressing a room full of journalists and publishers, Barber pitched ideas for a number of articles and commentaries. “Somebody has to unpack ‘so-called’ White evangelicalism that is illogical malpractice and heresy,” said Barber. “We’ve got to have some papers that write and do some investigative work to connect the money to White evangelicalism to the policies of extremism and racism, because some of our own folk are sending money to some of these TV White evangelicals.”

Barber said that the loss of the full protections of the Voting Rights Act and voter suppression were two of the most underreported stories during the last election cycle. “Long before any Russian hack, the American electoral process was hacked by systemic racism and fear,” said Barber. “The Southern Strategy is alive and well.”

Barber acknowledged that civil rights leaders and Democrats could have voiced louder criticism about the lack of work done in the U.S. Congress to restore the Voting Rights Act. “Democrats talked more about David Dukes than they did about voter suppression and the Voting Rights Act being dismantled,” said Barber. He said that they were 868 fewer voting places across the nation; those closures disproportionately affected Black voters.

“Voter suppression has been proven, voter fraud has been disproven. The lie about voter fraud is a distraction from the truth about voter suppression, because voter suppression is about thievery. You scratch a liar, you’ll find a thief,” said Barber. “Trump won because of the voter suppression that went on in the Black community.”

After delivering a brief history of fusion politics, a time when poor Whites and Blacks worked together to achieve political power in the South following the Civil War, Barber questioned why so many poor, White people today cast votes for lawmakers that oppose establishing living wage standards, better healthcare and more educational opportunities for low-income families.

The North Carolina pastor noted that there are 18.9 poor White people in the United States, about eight million more than the number of poor Black people, though Black people experience poverty at higher rates than Whites.

Barber said that exploring the real reasons why so many poor Whites vote against their own self-interest, would make for a great investigative report.

Returning to the theme that today’s political environment in America is nothing new, Barber told the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who he described as “three millennials from the Bible days,” that liked to write and Nebuchadnezzar, “a maniacal egomaniac who loved to tweet out his own news,” loved to build towers and invited people to come to his towers to bow down.

When Nebuchadnezzar commanded that everyone bow down to his image and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused, the king threatened to throw them into the furnace. “He didn’t know they already had a fire. They came from people who had been through the fire,” said Barber. “They remembered how the lord had dealt with pharaoh. They remembered how David dealt with Goliath.” Barber said that the three young leaders had a fire in them, because they sung the songs of their ancestors.

“Can we just make a decision, Black folks? Can we just make a decision, publishers? Can we just make a decision, civil rights…that bowing down is not an option?” Barber implored. “I gotta suspicion that it’s going be some fiery times. I gotta suspicion that it’s gonna get hot. I gotta suspicion that Nebuchadnezzar is gonna do some rough stuff.”

Barber implored the publishers, journalists and activists in the room to go into the proverbial fire standing up, because help won’t come, if you go in the fire bowing down. “If you go in the fire standing up, God can transform the fire and the same fire that was meant to destroy you, can become a fire of deliverance!” Barber shouted.

The crowd roared, delivering Barber a standing ovation. The Moral Mondays leader continued: “Bowing down is not an option! Standing down is not an option! Looking down is not an option! Breaking down is not an option! We’ve been through worse before.” Barber exclaimed. “We’ve been through slavery. We’ve been through Jim Crow. We’ve been through the Trail of Tears and we’re gonna stand up in this moment!”

The next day at the conference, Barber committed to writing a regular guest column for the NNPA Newswire that will be distributed throughout the NNPA’s network of 211 Black-owned media properties and will reach an estimated 20 million readers in print and online.

“Somebody has to write from the perspective of crisis, even if the crisis doesn’t end immediately,” Barber explained. “Somebody has to make sure that there is a witness that [the Black Press] didn’t go along with it. So we have to do that.”