58th Annual Frederick Douglass Awards Gala

Last night, the New York Urban League celebrated a historic evening at its 58th Annual Frederick Douglass Awards Gala hosted by GMA3’s DeMarco Morgan. This prestigious event recognizes exceptional individuals whose contributions have significantly impacted the pursuit of equality and justice. The gala, named after the renowned abolitionist and social reformer Frederick Douglass, was held at the landmark Ziegfeld Ballroom. Honorees Aurora James, George Gresham, Camille Joseph-Goldman, and Renee McClure were celebrated for their remarkable achievements, alongside Honorary Co-chair Meagan Good.

Aurora James, renowned for her groundbreaking organization 15% Pledge and her leadership in fashion and activism, received the Frederick Douglass Medallion. Her innovative endeavors and commitment to fostering economic equity have reshaped the fashion industry’s landscape and uplifted marginalized voices.

George Gresham, the President of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, was also recognized with the Frederick Douglass Medallion for his tireless efforts to champion workers’ rights and improve healthcare accessibility, making a significant difference in communities across New York City and beyond.

Renee McClure, an esteemed advocate for social justice and racial equity, was likewise bestowed with the Frederick Douglass Medallion. Her tireless efforts to address systemic injustices and amplify marginalized voices have been instrumental in advancing the cause of equality.

Camille Joseph-Goldman, a trailblazer in education and community development, was presented with the Ann S. Kheel Award. Her advocacy for educational equity and empowerment has transformed countless lives, embodying the spirit of Frederick Douglass’s commitment to education as a tool for liberation.

Honorary Co-chair Meagan Good addressed attendees with brief remarks, emphasizing the importance of solidarity and collective action in the ongoing struggle for justice. Host DeMarco Morgan skillfully guided the evening’s proceedings, ensuring a memorable and impactful event for all attendees who were inspired by the honorees’ stories of resilience and dedication. Guests included Jonathan Majors, who arrived on the carpet with Meagan Good, Summer House: Martha’s Vineyard star Jasmine Ellis Cooper, and Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine

“We are deeply grateful to Aurora James, George Gresham, Camille Joseph-Goldman, and Renee McClure for their exceptional contributions to our community,” expressed Arva Rice, President and CEO of the New York Urban League. “Their leadership and advocacy inspire us to persist in fighting for a more equitable and just society.”

During her speech, New York Urban League President and CEO Arva Rice, announced plans to transform its historic headquarters into a center for Black Excellence and Innovation. The center will include the current and future operations of NYUL including the Small Business Solutions Center, after school programming, and work development.

The 58th Annual Frederick Douglass Awards, a resounding testament to the New York Urban League’s steadfast commitment, stands as a proud moment for New York City. It’s a celebration of those who embody the principles of equality, justice, and community empowerment, reminding us of the pivotal role of collective action in shaping a more just and equitable future for all.

To learn more about the New York Urban League, its initiatives, and how you can contribute to their mission, please visit www.nyul.org.

Photo credit: Johnny Nunez