RNC Honors Black Republican Trailblazers
WASHINGTON – Today, the Republican National Committee (RNC) hosted its 2nd Annual Black Republican Trailblazer Awards luncheon at the historic Howard Theatre in Washington, DC. This year’s theme is “Honoring Our Past and Building the Future.”
More than 300 people were in attendance to witness RNC Chairman Reince Priebus present the 2014 Trailblazer Awards to former Assistant Secretary of Labor Bill Brooks of Michigan, former Ohio Supreme Court Judge Sara J. Harper, and former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Louis Sullivan, M.D. of Georgia.
“Today we celebrate three remarkable individuals who made a difference in the Republican Party, made history by breaking barriers and have remained an inspiration to us all by opening doors for others to succeed. It’s important that we honor the contributions of our trailblazers as we look toward building the future with a new generation of black Republicans,” said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus.
RNC Co-Chairman Sharon Day said, “The Trailblazer Awards is an opportunity each year to celebrate our Party’s rich history and highlight the contributions of great Republicans who have inspired us all with their accomplishments. Our three trailblazers and our keynote speaker have all been pioneers who leave a lasting legacy on the American landscape.”
Texas Education Commissioner Michael L. Williams delivered the keynote speech following remarks by Chairman Reince Priebus and Co-Chair Sharon Day.
Political activist and actor Joseph Phillips, best known for his role on The Cosby Show, co-hosted the event.
In addition to recognition by the RNC, Ohio Governor John Kasich issued a resolution honoring Judge Sara J. Harper.
Also this week, the RNC announced a series of paid advertisements placed with black media outlets in urban markets. The radio ads highlighted the 2014 Trailblazer honorees, and the print ads paid tribute to nationally recognized black Republicans.
About the 2014 Trailblazer honorees:
William C. Brooks – A U.S. Air Force veteran, William Brooks was recruited to serve in the White House Office of Management and Budget, under President Richard Nixon. He later received appointments from Presidents George H.W. Bush and Clinton, to be an Assistant Secretary of Labor and a member of the Social Security Advisory Board. In the private sector, Mr. Brooks has held numerous executive positions, including Vice President of Corporate Affairs for General Motors, and has served on many corporate boards. He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated.
Judge Sara J. Harper – Judge Harper was the first black woman to serve on the U.S. Marine Corp Reserve Judiciary. After retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel, she won a seat on the Ohio 8th District Court of Appeals, becoming one of the first two women elected to the court. Two years later, she became the first black woman appointed to the state Supreme Court. A former president of the Cleveland chapter of the NAACP, Judge Harper has worked for civil rights throughout her life. She is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
Louis Sullivan, MD – In 1975, Dr. Sullivan returned to his alma mater, Morehouse College to become the director and founding dean of the Medical Education Program. Six years later, he founded the independent Morehouse School of Medicine, and he became the school’s first president. He held that position until 2002, with the exception of four years when he served as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services under President George H.W. Bush. The recipient of over 60 honorary degrees, Dr. Sullivan also chaired the President’s Commission on Historically Black Colleges and Universities and co-chaired the President’s Commission on HIV and AIDS under President George W. Bush. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated.
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