FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 22, 2016
Contact: Jordun Lawrence
The Congressional Black Associates Honor the Work and Service of Congresswoman Terri Sewell and other Former Congressional Staffers at the 2016 Trailblazers Awards
Abdul Henderson, Arthur Sidney, Robert Nabors, Waikinya Clanton, to also be honored at ceremony in Rayburn House Office Building
WASHINGTON D.C.—On February 29, the Congressional Black Associates (CBA) will honor five outstanding former and current congressional staffers with 2016 Trailblazer Awards. The 9th Annual “Tribute to our Trailblazers” Black History Month Award Ceremony is themed "In Order to form A More Perfect Union: Celebrating the Value of Diversity on Capitol Hill," and will honor U.S. Representative Terri Sewell (AL-07), Congressional Black Caucus Executive Director Abdul Henderson, Robert Nabors, Waikinya Clanton, and Arthur Sidney. This year’s ceremony will take place at 6:30PM in the Capitol Visitors Center Atrium. The event is open to the press.
Each year, the Congressional Black Associates honor current or former African American congressional staffers who are trailblazers in their respective fields. Each award is named after a former congressional staffer who pioneered the way for others to follow.
“Black History month is a time to reflect on the many contributions that African Americans have made to American history and culture, but also to focus on the work that is yet to be done,” said CBA President Reggie McCrimmon. “We are honored to recognize current and former African American congressional staffers who have been Trailblazers in Congress and beyond. These leaders illuminated a path to success for current African American congressional staff and serve as a reminder of the value of diversity on Capitol Hill.”
2016 Trailblazer Award Recipients:
The Honorable Terri Sewell, United States Representative of Alabama’s Seventh Congressional District
Recipient of the Joseph Hayne Rainey Award
Robert Nabors, Former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Recipient of the William Smith Trailblazer Award
Abdul Henderson, Executive Director of the Congressional Black Caucus
Recipient of the Ron V. Dellums Trailblazer Award
Waikinya Clanton, Executive Director of the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women
Recipient of the Christine Ray Davis Trailblazer Award
Arthur Sidney, Chief of Staff to Representative Henry C. "Hank" Johnson Jr (GA- 04)
Recipient of the Robert Harold Ogle Trailblazer Award
The Congressional Black Associates will also recognize Senator Harry Reid and his Senate Democratic Diversity Initiative for blazing the trail for increased diversity among congressional staffers.
For more information or to RSVP contact CongressionalBlackAssociates@gmail.com or visit http://www.congressionalblackassociates.com/trailblazers/.
About The Congressional Black Associates
The Congressional Black Associates is an official congressional staff association of the United States House of Representatives. Founded in 1979, the purpose of the CBA is to enhance the political, social and economic capabilities of Black people on Capitol Hill, in the Greater Washington Metropolitan area, the nation, and other countries throughout the world. CBA serves as a professional and social network for Black employees who are working or have worked on Capitol Hill to disseminate information on relevant issues and news important to Black people.
Congressional Black Associates Trailblazer Awards
The William Smith Trailblazer Award
William Smith became the highest ranking African American in the federal government when he was appointed Librarian of the U.S. House of Representatives in 1881. He was regarded by Members from both parties as a reference of “authority” with a “memory of speeches, and points made by different public men in debate, what was remarkable.”
The Joseph Hayne Rainey Trailblazer Award
Joseph Hayne Rainey was the first African American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, the first African American to preside over the House, and the longest serving African American member during the tumultuous period of The Reconstruction.
The Robert Harold Ogle Trailblazer Award
Robert Harold Ogle was the first African American known to serve as a professional Senate committee staffer. Senate records show that Ogle was originally hired in 1919 as a “laborer” for the Senate Appropriations Committee, chaired by Senator Francis E. Warren of Wyoming. His title was later changed to “messenger” for the committee in 1921, and he was finally named an “additional clerk” in 1930.
The Christine Ray Davis Trailblazer Award
Christine Ray Davis was the first African American Chief Clerk of the House Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Department. She was the highest paid African American woman in the federal government and the first African American congressional aide with unrestricted access to the House floor.
The Ron V. Dellums Trailblazer Award
Ron Dellums served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1971 to 1998 and was the first African American to sit on the House Armed Services Committee before becoming the first African American to Chair the committee in 1993. As a former Marine, he was a strong supporter of our men and women in uniform, and advocated for peaceful military policies.