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Honorees Cassie Owens and Raishad Hardnett. Photo credit Emily Leopard-Davis/Al Dia News
Honorees Cassie Owens and Raishad Hardnett. Photo credit Emily Leopard-Davis/Al Dia News

The PABJ Awards Gala is back and in-person

A common theme among the acceptance speeches was the importance of mentorship and how it got the honorees to where they are today.

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On Saturday, November 13, the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists (PABJ) held their first in-person awards gala since 2019. 

PABJ is the founding chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), its award gala honors those who have excelled in journalism. In the organization’s own words, the gala “honor[s] extraordinary journalism, communications and community standouts.” 

As an organization, the NABJ works to ensure that aspiring, young, and established Black journalists are given the opportunities they need to thrive in their field. 

The 2021 PABJ Award honorees were Patty Jackson (Lifetime Achievement Award); Bill Anderson (2021 Broadcast Journalist of the Year Award); Cassie Owens (Print Journalist of the Year Award); Raishad Hardnett (Visual Journalist of the Year Award); Dr. Ala Stanford (PABJ Community Service Award); and Terri Andrews (Trailblazer Award).

Patty Jackson has worked in radio for over 40 years, 31 of those years with WDAS-FM. She continued even after suffering a stroke in 2015. Jackson has been inducted into the Philadelphia Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame and has had the street she grew up on renamed after her. 

Jackson shared a lot of “auntie” advice during her speech. One of the most poignant pieces was: “Never feel it’s robbery to reach back and help that young person who is coming up behind you.” 

Terri Andrews began her news career in 1981 at WAVY-TV. After six years there she came to WISH-TV in Indianapolis, where she became the station’s first Black and first female director. 

After ten years in Indianapolis, she became the director of Newscast at NBC10, a position she stayed in until her retirement in 2020. 

She reflected on the encouragement she received from other women at the station like Edie Huggins, “Even though all these ladies were on-air talent and I was behind the scenes, they took it upon themselves to embrace me and nurture me. Their professionalism and their warmth helped me to try to pass along warmth and knowledge to others coming after me,” she said. 

In addition to these talented journalists, PABJ also honored Dr. Ala Stanford for her amazing work with the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium. She founded the organization after a report showed that residents in rich, white areas of Philadelphia were six times more likely to be tested than their poor and minority counterparts. 

So far they’ve tested 25,000 people and since January, they’ve given 51,000 at least one dose of the vaccine. She is currently in the running for the CNN Heroes award. 

PABJ was able to raise over $75,000 for scholarships and programming from the gala. This year’s scholarships went to three college students and one high school senior. The scholarships ranged in price from $500 to $1,250. 

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