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CBCF Honors Reps. Conyers And Rangel And Toyota At Black History Month Celebration

On February 24, 2015, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Incorporated (CBCF) honored Reps. John Conyers, Jr. and Charles Rangel and Toyota Corporation during its sixth annual Avoice Heritage Celebration at The Hamilton in Washington, D.C. The Avoice Heritage Celebration is the foundation's official Black History Month observance, which helps to support the Avoice virtual library. This year's celebration builds on the National Black History Month theme, "A century of Black life, history and culture."

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) joined those gathered to celebrate Reps. Conyers and Rangel and Toyota for their achievements. Reps. Rangel and Conyers were recognized for their contributions to the legislative legacy of Blacks in Congress and Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc. for its commitment to cultivating minority civic engagement.

"The Avoice Heritage Celebration enables the foundation to continue the important work of our Avoice virtual library - the impact of which will be felt for generations," said Rep. Chaka Fattah, CBCF board chairman.  "Through Avoice, we are able to accurately portray the important role that African-Americans have played in shaping our nation's public policies, which have helped to move our nation forward."

"Capturing and chronicling the history of African-American legislators is a chief part of our mission to educate the public," said A. Shuanise Washington, president and CEO of the CBCF.  "We are developing a new generation of leaders that understand the lessons of our past and are fully equipped to participate in solutions that improve our future."

Rep. Conyers, who received the Elder Statesperson Avoice Heritage Award for Distinguished Leadership, celebrates 50 years in Congress and is the first African-American to serve as dean of the House of Representatives. Conyers introduced the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Act, which led the way to Dr. King's birthday becoming a national holiday in 1983.

"I'm honored and moved by this tribute from the CBCF. I'm looking forward to our continued partnership, to win the battle for social and economic justice and the unfettered right to vote for all people. The CBCF is more critical than ever, and we in Congress couldn't have a better partner."

Rep. Charles B. Rangel received the Elder Statesperson Avoice Heritage Award, Distinguished Pioneer. Rep. Rangel, who made history as the first African-American member of Congress to lead the powerful Ways and Means Committee, was the prime sponsor of President Barack Obama's signature Affordable Care Act. He is now serving his 23rd term in the House of Representatives.

"I am greatly honored to receive this recognition from the CBC Foundation. Inspired by Dr. King's dedication to service, I ran for office to fight for equality and help pave the way for others.  Since 1971, I am proud to have served alongside tireless members of the CBC in fighting for the shared interests of the Black community.  The work is far from over but our efforts have certainly paid off. Given how far we have come and the strength we have built, I cannot wait to see the progress we will continue to make in the future."

Toyota received the final award of the night, the Distinguished Corporation Award.

"Toyota is honored to receive the Distinguished Corporate Award," said Jim Colon.  "We look forward to continuing our partnership with the CBCF and encouraging civic engagement among all citizens."

Past honorees include Grammy award winner Stevie Wonder, the Coca-Cola Company, and former Reps. Carrie P. Meek and Louis Stokes.