By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
Advocating and championing the fight to raise awareness and ultimately a cure for Sickle Cell Disease; the importance of the 2020 Census; the enshrinement of two publishers into the Black Press Archives and Gallery of Distinguished Publishers; and the 2019 Torch Awards were just some of the highlights from this year’s annual Black Press Week in Washington, D.C.
The week, which featured panel discussions and meetings of the board and association of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), also included a fireside chat with Cherie Wilson of General Motors; a panel discussion on the Every Student Succeeds Act; and a visit to the Library of Congress.
NNPA strategic partners included the African Methodist Episcopal Church; American Association of Blacks in Energy; The Impact Network; Minority Media and Telecommunications Council; National Action Network; NAACP; NABJ; NAHP; NAFEO; NAREB; National Bar Association; Rainbow Push Coalition; UAW; and the UNCF.
Additional NNPA partners and sponsors include General Motors; Ford; RAI Reynolds American; Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Pfizer Rare Disease; Wells Fargo; AmeriHealth Ceritas; Koch; Collaborative for Student Success; API; Volkswagen; Juul; Ascension; and Comcast NBC Universal.
“It’s a privilege to be here during Black Press Week and to talk about Sickle Cell Disease Awareness,” said Lori Luck, the global medical director for Pfizer Rare Disease, who joined Beverley Frances-Gibson, the president and CEO of the SCD Association of America; and Angie Snyder, a professor at Georgia State University; to discuss the latest in Sickle Cell Disease advocacy.
Always a highlight of Black Press Week, the enshrinement of Black Press publishers into the Gallery of Distinguished Publishers which this year featured Nationalist, Pan-Africanism movement leader and Negro World newspaper founder Marcus Mosiah Garvey and Washington AFRO-AMERICAN publisher emeritus Francis L. Murphy II.
His son Dr. Julius Garvey, who spoke to NNPA Newswire about reparations, represented Garvey. He said reparations are necessary if there is ever to be a complete healing of the evil slave trade.
“We are the original people and the original civilization. African praxis directs us to the truth that we are at home in the universe and should treat it as our home,” Dr. Garvey said.
It’s also up to those of African descent to assume some responsibility in carrying forward the legacies of his father and other civil rights leaders, Dr. Garvey said.
“That will move us further along the arc of redemption, renaissance and the redevelopment of our people as a civilization,” he said.
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) and Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza were honored by the NNPA during Black Press Week.
Norton received the NNPA’s Torch Award, given annually to someone who’s made a difference in the African American community while Garza received the NNPA Newsmaker of the Year in recognition of her work as an organizer, writer, public speaker and difference maker.
Garza, who in 2018 founded Black Futures Lab, which works to make black people powerful in politics, said she appreciates holding the torch alongside the Black Press.
“I feel like we got some work to do together,” Garza said.
A 2017 Sydney Peace Prize recipient, Garza said while the work of Black Lives Matter has shined a spotlight on police shootings of unarmed African Americans, it’s also important that Black women are giving their due respect.
“Black Lives Matter has always been about telling the truth … and the truth of the matter is there’s somethings we’ve got to talk about. Black women … are experiences were devalued and erased and told our job and role is to serve others even at the expense of yourself,” Garza said.
With informative input from General Motors, Ford, Wells Fargo, Pfizer and others, many said Black Press Week again proved a success.
The week concluded with a trip to the Library of Congress where publishers and others were given a tour and a presentation titled, “The Black Press in the United States: History, Legacy and Heritage.
“The Black Press must continue to tell the naked truth,” said Karl Rodney, the publisher of the New York-based Carib News.