On Sept. 15, the National Bar Association (NBA) along with Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, honored U.S. Trade Representative Ronald Kirk with its Presidential Award of Merit for Equal Justice and current and past chairs of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) with its Presidential Award of Merit. The awards were presented in the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel’s Grand Ballroom during the NBA’s fourth annual CBC Reception.

This year’s award recipients will join a prestigious list of past honorees, which includes U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. The reception recognizes individuals who have been outspoken advocates for equal justice and the rule of law.

Sheryl Underwood, international president of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, also celebrated the awardees. “We join the NBA in applauding the work and tenacity of the current and former chairs of the CBC, whose leadership, strength and vision continue to provide African Americans a voice and an open door to the highest levels of government,” said Underwood in a statement. “Together the CBC chairs and Ambassador Kirk serve as inspiration for generations to come.”