NAACP Leaders Win Big at Midwest Academy Awards

NAACP Chairman Emeritus Julian Bond and Jotaka Eaddy, Senior Director for Voting Rights of the NAACP, win Lifetime Achievement Award and Heather Award at ceremony celebrating some of the nation’s most acclaimed progressive activists for their inspiring work throughout the year.

(WASHINGTON)— The Midwest Academy Awards honors Julian Bond and Jotaka Eaddy with the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award and 2012 Midwest Academy Heather Award, respectively.

Each year at the awards ceremony, the Midwest Academy recognizes some of their most dedicated leaders. The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes a visionary leader who has blazed trails for the progressive movement and made long-standing contributions to society. The Heather Award is awarded to a woman in mid-career who has given outstanding contributions to the progressive movement.

“The NAACP is elated that two of our own are being honored by the nation's most respected school for community organizing, The Midwest Academy,” said Benjamin Todd Jealous, President and CEO of the NAACP.

"Thanks to Julian Bond, today's activists have a foundation and a framework to encourage large scale movements, eradicate societal wrongs, and promote progressive change," said Roslyn M. Brock, Chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors.

Julian Bond served for 11 years as the Chair of the NAACP Board of Directors. As a leader of the American Civil Rights Movement, Bond founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in 1960 and helped to found the Southern Poverty Law Center, SPLC. He served in the Georgia State Legislature from 1965 and 1986 and became the first African-American nominated as Vice President of the United States.

“Julian Bond is an organizer's organizer, a master politician, and a powerful voice for the cause of universal human rights and human dignity.  He led sit-ins. He blazed a trail in the Georgia legislature and in presidential politics. Most recently, he led the NAACP into the national struggle for LGBT marriage equality and helped ensure victory for the issue in every state where it appeared on the ballot,” said Jealous.

Jotaka Eaddy serves as the Senior Director for Voting Rights of the NAACP and as a Special Assistant to the President and CEO of the NAACP, advocating for voting rights and directing external affairs and strategic initiatives on behalf of the office of the President and CEO. She has advocated on numerous death penalty cases, coordinated national lobbying efforts, and managed grassroots campaigns in more than 45 states and 28 countries.

“I am honored and humbled to receive this award,” said Jotaka Eaddy, Senior Director for Voting Rights of the NAACP. “In many ways this award is a reflection of all of the people who have helped mold the person that I am today.”

This year, Eaddy’s leadership with the Voting Rights Initiative of the NAACP successfully combatted efforts to block voters from the ballot box, winning battles in Texas, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Florida. After two visits with the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, the initiative also launched the Restore the Votes campaign, dedicated to restoring the votes of millions of people who were formally convicted of a felony.

“Jotaka Eaddy is among the very best of the new crop of NAACP organizers. A master strategist, she led efforts to abolish the juvenile death penalty in multiple states and coordinated the NAACP's national campaign to defend voting rights in advance of the 2012 elections,” said Jealous.

"As Jotaka Eaddy continues to lead voting rights initiatives at the NAACP, she joins the ranks of legendary civil rights women who inspired new generations of young people to think broadly, lead boldly, and create measurable change," added Brock.

Alongside Bond and Eaddy, the Academy presented awards to Mike Lux and Damon Silvers, Progressive Leadership Award; United We Dream, Organization of the Year Award; and Carlos Gonzales, Susan Blad Seldin Award.

Founded by long-time activist Heather Booth, the Midwest Academy advances movements for progressive social change by teaching strategic, rigorous, results-oriented approaches to social action and organization building.  The Academy provides training and consulting, equipping organizers, leaders, and their organizations to think and act strategically to win justice for all.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

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