Cleopatra and Nathaniel A. Pendleton, Sr., parents of Hadiya Pendelton, 15, who was fatally shot last year in a park a week after attending the second inauguration of President Obama and Lucy McBath and Ron Davis, parents of Jordan Davis, 17, who was shot to death in 2012 in Jacksonville by Michael Dunn on a convenience store parking lot after an argument over loud music,  will be honored during Black Press Week as Newsmakers of the Year.

“We know there’s nothing anyone can do to bring back Hadiya Pendleton or Jordan Davis, but we wanted their parents to know that the nation not only mourns their loss, but rededicates itself to reducing senseless gun violence that is all too common in our communities,” said Mary G. Denson, publisher of {The Windy City Word}in Chicago and chair of the National Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation, the sponsor of Black Press Week.

Cloves C. Campbell, Jr., publisher of the {Arizona Informant} and chairman of the NNPA, a federation of approximately 200 newspapers, said: “The deaths of Hadiya and Jordan were stark reminders that all of us must redouble our efforts to rid our communities of violence.”

The couples will each be presented with the “Newsmaker of the Year Award” at a dinner on March 20. Former North Carolina Rep. Melvin L. Watt, the first director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, will be presented the Torch Award for Political Achievement. Rev. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., leader of the Wilmington Ten and president and CEO of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, will be presented the Torch Award for Religious Achievement.

Earlier in the day, Charles W. Tisdale, the late publisher of the {Jackson Advocate}, the oldest Black-owned newspaper in Mississippi, and the late M. Paul Redd, publisher of the {Westchester County Press} in New York, will be honored at the Distinguished Black Publishers Enshrinement Ceremony at Howard University.

Tisdale, who purchased the almost-defunct paper in 1978 and built it into a respected publication, died in 2007 at 80.

Redd, who purchased his newspaper in 1986, wrote a column called “M. Paul Tells All” for more than 40 years and was a major figure in New York Democratic politics. He died in 2009 at age 80.

The NNPA will visit the office of the Republican National Committee on March 19 to hear about their outreach efforts to Blacks and will visit the White House on March 21 for a briefing on President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” Black male initiative.

On March 21, a breakfast panel on confronting HIV/AIDS entitled “Black Press and the Black Pulpit” is scheduled. Black Press Week activities will conclude with a luncheon March 21, at the National Press Club featuring a panel discussion on Black economic empowerment featuring Maggie Anderson, founder of the Empowerment Experiment  and author of “Our Black Year,” which chronicles a year of the family using only products and services produced by Blacks.

NNPA Washington Correspondent

Special to the AFRO