Kizzmekia S. Corbett, Ph.D.
SEPTEMBER 24, 2021 | AWARDS: 7:30pm to 9pm
In March 2021, the Greater Washington Urban League (the “League”) assembled over 150 executives positioned to be change agents at its inaugural Equity in Black & White: Unpacking our Call of Duty Summit. These powerful leaders gained knowledge from 12 renowned experts in the fields of social movements, catalytic thinking and structural racialization. This invaluable event marked just the beginning of what is to come at the Greater Washington Urban League as we stir hearts and churn the waters of racial equity.
We promised you that the conversation would continue!
Are you ready to take the next step in this journey with us?
On September 24, 2021, we invite you to join us at the League’s Courage Under Fire Awards: Continuing the Equity Conversation. We will uplift those who are courageously fighting for systems change while also exploring what happens when racial equity slips through the cracks, and the devastating consequences of inaction. In the spirit of recognizing powerful leadership, we will be awarding individuals that uphold the GWUL mission and are exemplary in each of their own endeavors. Attorney Benjamin Crump, Attorney Jerry Blackwell, and Dr. Kizzmekia S. Corbett all epitomize the upholding of exemplary work to us.
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
LEGAL ANALYST, HOST
EXCELLENCE IN JOURNALISM AWARD
Laura Coates is a CNN Anchor and Senior Legal Analyst, SiriusXM Talk Show Host, and author who defines success on her own terms. A native of Saint Paul, Minnesota, Laura graduated from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the University of Minnesota Law School before beginning her legal career in private practice.
She practiced law in Minnesota and New York, handling cases ranging to Defamation and Media law. Called to public service, she transitioned from private practice to the United States Department of Justice, thriving as a federal prosecutor. She served as a Trial Attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice during the Bush and Obama administrations, specializing in the enforcement of voting rights throughout the country. She also served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, prosecuting a myriad of violent felony offenses, including drug trafficking, armed offenses, domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault.
Laura’s depth of diverse experience and broad expertise has earned her acclaim across all media platforms. Easily branded a constitutional expert, her diversified expertise is both timely and topical. She is lauded across the globe for her persuasive objectivity and ability to break down complex and emotionally charged topics plainly and without partisanship. Since 2017, she has hosted the daily eponymous talk show,“The Laura Coates Show,” on SiriusXM, now airing weekdays 3-6 PM ET on the P.O.T.U.S. channel. Laura is an adjunct professor at the George Washington University School of Law and routinely speaks across the country on civil rights, social justice, economic empowerment, and leaps of faith.
Laura currently resides in Washington, D.C. with her husband and two children.
Attorney Benjamin Crump
LEADERSHIP IMPACT AWARD
Benjamin Lloyd Crump, represents clients in some of the most important and contentious cases of our time, taking a place in legal history with his pursuit of justice. Mr. Crump’s passion for advocacy has given him the privilege to fight for justice on behalf of the marginalized in our country, a calling to which he remains dedicated. Crump commonly known for his assistance on the Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Breonna Taylor, Jacob Blake, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd cases. Notably, he is also providing legal advocacy to families impacted by the Flint water crisis while also known for his involvement in the 2019 Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder lawsuit.
Mr. Crump is heavily involved in his community, having previously endowed scholarships to Florida A&M University, Livingston College, Florida State University, and Bethune Cookman University for minority law students. He also serves as the president and co-founder of MyDad360, a mentoring program for fathers endorsed by Colin Powell and recognized by President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative. He is a Life Member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the NAACP, and the Urban League.
Mr. Crump was born and raised in Lumberton, North Carolina, and is the oldest of nine siblings and step-siblings. He received his undergraduate and law degrees from Florida State University. He is a congregation member and serves on the Board of Trustees for the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church. He is married to Dr. Genae Angelique Crump, is the proud father of Brooklyn Zeta Crump, and the guardian of two adopted cousins, Marcus and Chancellor.
Attorney Jerry Blackwell
LEADERSHIP IMPACT AWARD
Jerry Wayne Blackwell the CEO of Blackwell Burke P.A., and the Founder of the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers. Mr. Blackwell’s compelling delivery of the prosecution’s opening argument in the George Floyd case was one of the many moving moments that lead to the formidable team of attorneys winning the monumental trial. Furthermore, in 2011, Governor Mark Dayton appointed Mr. Blackwell to serve as an at-large member of the Minnesota Commission on Judicial Appointments.
As a leading medical defense attorney in Minnesota, when Mr. Blackwell is not running his own practice, he often speaks with budding lawyers on winning trial strategies and how to communicate complex legal issues to jurors. What you may not know, is that when he is not zealously defending clients, he also enjoys beekeeping, meditation, and is an avid hobby farmer. We shall dive into the true nature of Attorney Jerry Blackwell and his strategies for defense that altered the legal constructs in the George Floyd case.
We have reached a precipice of violence that threatens all Americans. That begs the question:
Are you ready to step into the movement with us?
Your involvement with the League could save countless lives. Your support as a sponsor enables us to bring to our community’s doorstep some of the most influential game-changers, and powerful voices for systemic change. This years’ Courage Under Fire award recipients are renowned experts in their respective industries. Acknowledgement of Dr. Corbett’s brilliance and a facilitated discussion with both Mr. Crump and Mr. Blackwell will surely not disappoint as they take us on a deeper dive into policies and practices used to dehumanize and devalue Black lives.
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have put advancing racial equity in America at the forefront of their administration’s agenda. Let us do our part and not allow investments in injustice to be the defining moment in our history. We must scale, surge, and sustain our efforts to counter racial hatred, insurrections, voter suppression and other threats to our Democracy. We are asking you to make a choice and support the League’s work by sponsoring our Courage Under Fire Awards. In the words of James Baldwin:
“Not everything that is faced can be changed;
but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
HONORING BRILLIANCE IN BLACK
Kizzmekia S. Corbett, Ph.D.
Dr. Kizzmekia S. Corbett is the scientific lead for the Coronavirus Vaccines & Immunopathogenesis Team at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Vaccine Research Center (VRC).
Dr. Corbett’s passion for understanding viruses includes years spent on developing a universal influenza vaccine. That same passion enabled Dr. Corbett to utilize her 15 years of viral immunization expertise to drive the novel coronavirus vaccine creation. Now she has narrowed her focus on vaccine development for pandemic preparedness, such as the mRNA-1273, which is currently the leading vaccine against the virus causing COVID-19. Dr. Corbett is also an active member of the NIH Fellows Committee and a devoted advocate of STEM education and vaccine awareness. Pairing her research goals with her knack for mentoring, Corbett aspires to become an independent principal investigator.
Guy Lambert is arguably one of the most recognized voices in Washington DC radio. Currently serving as the news director and anchor for WPGC 95.5, his distinct and captivating voice delivers entertainment, community, and political new stories across the airwaves every weekday morning on Washington DC's hit music station WPGC 95.5FM.
In addition to being a staple in radio, Guy Lambert has maintained an elite reputation as an event host, emcee, and entertainment correspondent nationwide.
Guy is also a continuous contributor to the hit TV Show "Like it or Not" on DC's WTTG FOX 5.
With over 20 years in commercial radio, television news, and entertainment Guy has built a refined brand.