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Oct 8, 2013

NCBCP Spirit of Democracy Awards Celebrates History and Honors Leaders Keeping the Movement Going Forward

Tanya Lombard, AT & T; Chaka Burgess, Amgen; Kevin Parker, NCBCP (honoree); and Melanie L. Campbell, NCBCP.

Washington, DC – As the National Coalition On Black Civic Participation (NCBCP) celebrated significant moments in civil rights history and honored extraordinary servant-leaders who keep the movement moving at their 16th annual Spirit of Democracy Awards Gala, four members of Congress attended to congratulate the honorees and underscore the ongoing struggle for justice and equality.

Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee (TX), Congresswoman Corrine Brown (FL), Congressman Bobby Scott (VA), and Congressman Charles Rangel (NY) commended the work of each honoree as well as the NCBCP, and urged them to continue in their mission to hold elected officials accountable.

Melanie L. Campbell, president and CEO of NCBCP said, “It doesn’t take much to figure out that it’s movement time. Some people are trying to take us backwards. But thanks in part to the work of our honorees, we won’t go. The Voting Rights Act, Trayvon Martin, and now our government is shut down. A dysfunctional government hurts people of color and all Americans.”

Campbell adds, “Our honorees continue to fight. They are some of our nation’s most exceptional leaders who are paying it forward by meeting the challenges our communities, our nation and world are facing today.” “Their work in advancing voting rights, women’s rights, workers’ rights, immigrant rights, human rights, and economic opportunity, are to be commended.”

Spirit of Democracy 2013 honorees are: Arlene Holt Baker, executive vice president emerita, AFL-CIO; Brent Wilkes, national executive director, League of United Latin American Citizens; Salandra Benton, convener, Florida Coalition Black Civic Participation; Kevin Parker, treasurer, NCBCP Board of Directors; and Karma Cottman, executive director, DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich, NCBCP; Arlene Holt, AFL-CIO; Melanie Campbell, NCBCP; Emilio Gonzalez, Verizon, Kenya King, Actress/Singer.

As 2013 marks several significant milestones in the civil rights movement including the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington the dinner theme was, Celebrating Our History: Paying It Forward. To celebrate that history, the program featured actress and singer, Kenya King, in a dramatic one-woman show that uses narrative and song to chronicle the life of Lena Horne, including when she stood up for equality in the Civil Rights Movement and participated in the historic March on Washington.

Melanie Campbell, NCBCP; and Salandra Benton

Sponsored by AT&T, Verizon, AMGEN, AFL-CIO, AFT, BET, The Coca-Cola Company, Comcast, Northrop Grumman, SEIU, Time Warner Cable, IAMAW, APWU, Dewey Square among others, the Spirit of Democracy Awards are presented to individuals and organizations for their leadership and accomplishments in promoting democracy and inclusion both here and abroad.

The NCBCP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization founded in 1976 to increase African American participation in civil society. The organization trains and engages leaders, registers and mobilizes voters, teaches tactics to hold elected officials accountable, and promotes women and girls empowerment and broadband access in underserved communities. Programs include: Black Women's Roundtable, Black Youth Vote!, and a new Black Male Initiative, The Gathering of Men.

Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich, NCBCP; Melanie Campbell, NCBCP; Brent Wilkes, LULAC; Emilio Gonzalez, Verizon, Kenya King, Actress/Singer.

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