Vice President Kamala Harris, Ghana’s President, and Others Receive Awards
Tennessee State Representative Barbara Ward Cooper, who is 92 years old, stands next to NBCSL President Billy Mitchell after she received NBCSL’s Living Legend Award. Also pictured are members of the Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators.
Washington, D.C. — Over 500 Black State Legislators from across the United States left the National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL) Annual Legislative Conference last weekend recommitted to addressing voting rights, health care, education, and other important issues that are impacting African American communities.
Presently, more than 20 states have passed laws that will make it harder for millions of Americans to vote. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris prepared recorded remarks that were shown during the Annual Awards Ceremony for the conference attendees.
“We have a White House that looks like America,’ said President Biden. In her remarks, Vice President Harris said, “We must have a national baseline for voting rights.” “Georgia is ground zero for voter suppression,” said NBCSL President Billy Mitchell (GA). “One of NBCSL’s goals is to ensure that we support and provide the framework needed for Black Legislators to better represent their communities, which is a major reason why we’re creating a Public Policy Research Institute (PPRI),” he said.
The Institute will represent the nation’s only nonpartisan think tank dedicated to providing evidenced-based public policy research to state legislators with a focus on issues concerning the Black community.
“In addition, PPRI will provide leadership development and training for legislators to assist them in constructing and analyzing new public policy,” said President Mitchell. Vice President Harris was presented with the David P. Richardson Jr. National Nation Builder Award for her significant contributions and for laying the foundation for political progress of African Americans.
The inaugural 2021 International Nation Builder Award was presented to Nana Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana.
“President Akufo-Addo’s leadership demonstrates his commitment to public service, the Republic of Ghana, and the global African community,” said Mitchell. “He advocates guaranteeing the rights of Ghanian citizens and is a champion for justice, freedom, and democracy.” Darnella Frazier, the Minneapolis, Minnesota teenager who recorded the video of George Floyd’s arrest and death in 2020, received the Senator Regis F. Groff Youth Award for her courage and being the catalyst for demonstrations and a worldwide movement to admonish racial and social injustice.
The late Congressman John Lewis was posthumously honored with NBCSL’s Nation Award for his years of service as a civil rights leader and politician, while 92 year-old recently elected Tennessee State Representative Barbara Ward Cooper received the Living Legend Award for her decades – long dedication to youth and the Black community in Memphis. Visit nbcsl.org to learn more.