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Stacey Abrams and Philando Castile Relief Foundation among distinguished NEA honorees

NEA will host first-ever virtual Human and Civil Rights Awards on Wednesday, July 1, at 8 p.m. EDT

WASHINGTON - June 25, 2020 -

Due to the ongoing pandemic, the National Education Association will host the first-ever virtual celebration of its most prestigious awards on Wednesday, July 1, at 8 p.m. EDT. Stacey Abrams and the Philando Castile Relief Foundation are among the distinguished honorees headlining the 2020 NEA Human and Civil Rights Awards: We Rise Together.

The virtual celebration will include a special performance by renowned opera singer Davóne Tines and remarks by NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. Also speaking are the extraordinary recipients of this year’s awards, who have fought to make sure every student receives a quality public education no matter her or his ZIP code—especially for those who have long been marginalized—and who have advanced racial and social justice in their communities.

To complement its first-ever virtual ceremony, NEA unveiled a new, permanent website that is home to all of the content related to the HCR Awards: bios of recipients, acceptance videos of honorees, keynotes, and other pertinent information. Check out the new website at

NEA will recognize the following individuals, groups, and organizations for continuing the quest for human and civil rights in America:

  • Georgia’s Stacey Abrams—The NEA President’s Award
  • Milwaukee ’s Voces de la Frontera—The César Chávez Acción y Compromiso Human and Civil Rights Award
  • Omaha’s Empowerment Network—The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Award
  • NEA members and brain trust behind Utah’s Park City High School’s DREAM BIG Program Anna Martinez Williams and Melanie Moffat—The George I. Sánchez Memorial Award
  • NEA member and Wisconsin’s 2019 high school teacher of the year Benjamin Grignon—The Leo Reano Memorial Award
  • NEA member and Indianapolis’ long-time educator and visionary Patricia (Pat) Payne—The H. Councill Trenholm Memorial Award
  • Nashville’s first Muslim American elected to city council, Zulfat Suara—The Mary Hatwood Futrell Human and Civil Right Award
  • The Minnesota-based Philando Castile Relief Foundation—The Reg Weaver Human and Civil Rights Award
  • Omaha’s Inclusive Communities—The Rosa Parks Memorial Award
  • Hawaii’s Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS)—The Ellison S. Onizuka Memorial Award
  • NEA member and Wisconsin’s pioneering educator, and LGBTQ advocate Bonnie Augusta—The Virginia Uribe Memorial Award for Creative Leadership in Human Rights


WHO:             NEA President Lily Eskelsen García and 2020 NEA Human and Civil Rights honorees

WHAT:          2020 NEA Human and Civil Rights Awards: We Rise Together

WHEN:          Wednesday, July 1, 8: p.m. EDT

WHERE:        Virtually at

Media that wishes to cover the awards ceremony may request a media pass by contacting Miguel A. Gonzalez at or via cell at 202-491-9532.

About the NEA HCR Awards

The merger of the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Teachers Association (ATA) in 1966 produced the annual NEA Human and Civil Rights Awards. ATA, which represented Black teachers in segregated schools, traditionally honored leaders in the justice and civil rights movement annually. Since the merger, NEA has recognized and honored educators, individuals, community partners, and organizations that are advancing the mantle for human and civil rights.

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, students preparing to become teachers, healthcare workers, and public employees. Learn more at

CONTACT: Miguel A. Gonzalez, NEA Communications  202-491-9532,