Outstanding local women in business, technology, education and labor, an iHeart Radio executive, and a longtime elected state official are among the honorees to be recognized at the National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum Gentle Warrior Awards gala on Feb. 24 from 5 to 9 p.m. in the Parkway Ballroom, 4455 S. King Drive.
Educator Beulah McLloyd, principal of Walter H. Dyett School for the Arts, and Illinois State Rep. LaShawn K. Ford will receive the Gentle Warrior Award, along with nationally recognized figures including U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-California; to be accepted by her designee) and actor-producer-director Robert Townsend (“Hollywood Shuffle”).
Jaquie Algee, vice president and director of external relations for SEIU Healthcare and one of the organizers of the Women’s March on Chicago, is joined by Derrick Brown, director of urban programming for iHeart Radio, as this year’s Change Agent Award recipients.
And JinJa Birkenbeuel, CEO of Birk Creative and a Google technology coach, will be the inaugural recipient of the Descendants of Distinction Award, created to honor descendants of the Pullman Porters, the group of distinguished railroad workers who formed the first Black labor union in the U.S., chartered under the American Federation of Labor. Birkenbeuel joins a long list of renowned descendants that include former first lady Michelle Obama, actress Taraji P. Henson (“Hidden Figures,” “Empire”), actor Andre Braugher and Tom Joyner, host of the Tom Joyner Morning Show.
“The Pullman porters introduced class, culture and education to the African American community and framed it in a way that made it important to us as a people,” said Dr. Lyn Hughes, museum founder. “They planted seeds in our ancestry that made us want to do more, be more, strive for more. They were education stalwarts who gained middle class status in the service/hospitality sector with dignity and conviction.”
- Philip Randolph founded the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. He was one of America’s foremost labor and civil rights leaders, who became known as the “Gentle Warrior.”
In 2000, in his honor, the NAPRPP museum created the Gentle Warrior Awards Gala to recognize individuals who exhibit a similar commitment, focus and tenacity that Randolph displayed.
For ticket information visit Eventbrite or go to https://aprpullmanportermuseum.org/special-events/. Entertainment to be provided by R&B, house music duo The Pullman Porters.