Steward Marie Johns’ story is featured as part of the White House Black History Month series which highlights African Americans from across the Administration whose work contributes to the President’s vision for winning the future.
Marie Johns’ Story: Supporting Small Businesses and Growing the Economy
I come from a family of small business owners and have seen firsthand how important they are to strengthening our communities and our economy. My grandfather owned a landscaping company in my hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana. As one of the first African-American owned business in Indiana to win a statewide contract, his company maintained the land around state highways. After my uncle earned his degree in pharmaceutical science at Howard University, my grandfather helped him start his own pharmacy, which served the city’s African-American community. Their spirit of entrepreneurship has always inspired me. Following a 21 year career in the telecommunications industry, I founded my own small business: an organizational effectiveness and public policy consulting practice.
Metropolitan Steward Ernest Green addressed the Washington Hebrew Congregation’s Martin Luther King Shabbat Service on Friday, January 14. Prior to the service, members of the WHC congregation, Metropolitan and other local churches, and invited guests gathered for a festive dinner to honor Steward Green and remember Dr. King.’s fight for civil rights.
Below is the way Steward Green was introduced that evening.
“It was on September 23, 1957 that Ernest Green and eight other teenagers walked into their high school. For most, this act would have been unremarkable — just another part of a daily routine. But for these Black youth, who became known as the ‘‘Little Rock Nine,’’ entering Little Rock, Arkansas’ Central High School was an act of courage and a defining moment in our nation’s civil rights movement
“Racial tensions were high in the 1950s South, and despite the 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education that declared segregation illegal, many schools remained closed to Black students. Although protected by the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army, these nine students endured harassment, threats and abuse throughout the school year. Against odds, Green graduated from Central High that following June, the first African-American to do so. He then went on to receive his BA and MA degrees from Michigan State University as well as honorary Doctorate degrees from Michigan State, Tougaloo College and Central State University.
At the age of 17, Green was the youngest recipient of the NAACP’s Spingard Medal; and in 1999 President Clinton presented Green, along with the rest of the Little Rock Nine, with the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor that can be given to a civilian for their outstanding bravery during the integration of Central High in 1957.”
Dorothy Gilliam to be presented with the Washington Press Club Foundation Life Time Achievement Award at the 66th Annual Congressional Dinner
WASHINGTON, DC _ The board of directors of the Washington Press Club Foundation is pleased to announce that Dorothy Gilliam has been selected to receive its 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award. The award will be presented at the 66th Annual Congressional Dinner on April 21, 2010 in Washington D.C.
Dorothy was a trailblazer for women and minorities in the media. The first black woman to report for The Washington Post, she founded the Post’s young Journalist Development Program and the George Washington University Prime Movers program, which partners established journalists with student journalists to start and revitalize high school media. In addition to her long career as a Post columnist, she was an activist dedicated to public service, from her days helping to organize protests against the New York Daily News after it fired two thirds of its African-American staff, to her tenure as president of the National Association of Black Journalists and the board of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. Throughout her career, she always emphasized the importance of diversity in the newsroom so that all Americans were represented in the press.
The Washington Press Club Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award is based on the ideals of the founders of the WPCF, the Women’s National Press Club. For almost 70 years, these pioneers in journalism fought for equal status in the newsroom and within journalism organizations because they believed that the voice of the press should be as diverse as the readers it promised to serve. Today their work continues through the Foundation’s major programs, funding paid internships available to women and minorities in Washington, D.C. newsrooms, and producing oral histories of the female journalists who broke new ground in the profession.
Previous winners of the Lifetime Achievement Award include Mary McGrory, Helen Dewar, Nan Robertson and Helen Thomas. The Foundation’s signature event, the annual Congressional Dinner, allows for the working press corps and the members of Congress they cover to gather for a light-hearted nonpartisan, evening. For more information about the dinner contact email@example.com or the Washington Press Club Foundation on Facebook.
The Washington Press Club Foundation is an organization of journalists from the nation’s print and broadcast media working as a group to promote the ideals of equality and excellence that inspired that small band of its founders, the Women’s National Press Club.
The Congressional Dinner is the primary fundraising activity for the Foundation. If you would like to purchase a ticket to attend this year’s dinner please see the invitation for more information (Note: This event was originally scheduled for February 10th but had to be postponed due to the snow storm).