The Washington Government Relations Group (WGRG), one of the nation’s oldest volunteer organizations for Black government employees, celebrated African-American achievement July 30 at their 5th annual 2014 Tin Cup Awards. This year’s ceremony was held at the Embassy of Canada in northwest Washington, D.C.
WGRG refers to this annual event as their “version of the ESPY’s.” After the full-course dinner, just a minor part of the 3-hour evening affair, U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield Jr (D-NC) received the Adam Clayton Powell award for leadership in diversity. Widely known for his successful litigation of voting rights cases which resulted in African-Americans serving as elected officials, Rep. Butterfield recalled being on the front lines with Adam Clayton Powell in the 1960s. In his acceptance speech, Butterfield expressed his deep appreciation for the award.
For more than 40 years, the members of the Congressional Black Caucus, who commonly refer to themselves as the voice of Black people, received the Augustus F. Hawkins award for leadership in diversity for the organization.
MSNBC correspondent Angela Rye, president of IMPACT Strategies, delivered a warm, personable introduction to fellow television commentator and honoree Roland S. Martin. Martin or “my brother
RoRo,” as Rye affectionately referred to the TV One commentator, received the Lucile Harris Bluford Spotlight Award for highlighting efforts of diversity in journalism.
The “unapologetic Black man,” which Martin called himself, “does not apologize for being Black and is not scared to discuss Black media,” Martin explained.
The highlight of the evening was the standing ovation for lobbyist Celeste “Clete” Boykin of The Dupont Group, when she received the Lifetime Achievement Award for her work in WGRG. In addition, guests cheered and applauded lobbyist Paul Brathwaite of the Podesta Group,when he received the Reginald “Reg” Gilliam Lobbyist of the Year award. Brathwaite jokingly, yet graciously, thanked all the lobbyists who continuously pay for his young children’s education by effectively doing their job and having clients.
WGRG also provided scholarships for college students during the evening. The majority of the scholarship recipients are students attending historically Black colleges and universities including Howard, Prairie View A&M, and Florida A&M Universities.