What do Nelson Mandela, Oprah and Soledad O’Brien have in common? They’ve all received the Freedom Award from the National Civil Rights Museum (NCRM). The NCRM is celebrating its 25th anniversary, and thanks to African Pride, I was able to tour the museum, interview several of the awardees and attend the awards gala.
The gala and awards ceremony opened with a video tribute to lives lost to police brutality. Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On played in the background and almost brought me to tears. Michael Eric Dyson hosted the awards. And Anthony Brown reminded us, in song, that our lives are worth fighting for.
The importance of family was a common theme in the acceptance speeches. Each of the awardees acknowledged how the support and guidance of their families fueled their drive in the fight for freedom.
Lawyer and social activist Bryan Stevenson expressed gratitude for the influence of his grandmother, journalist Soledad O’Brien mentioned her parents bravery to marry illegally (Maryland prohibited interracial marriage), and former WNBA player Swin Cash acknowledged her mother and grandmother for giving her the courage to overcome the odds of being a black women and stand up for what she believes in.
Below are pictures from the gala and ways each of the awardees is keeping us on the path of the long walk toward freedom.
The Freedom Awards Wall of Fame
Past Awardees include Oprah, Nelson Mandela, Colin Powell, Harry Belafonte, Ava DuVernay and many others.
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