DENVER - Verizon and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation presented outgoing National Education Association President Reg Weaver with the Augustus "Gus" Hawkins Excellence in Education Award Thursday (Aug. 28) at the Celebration of African-American Leadership.
Weaver, a longtime leader and strong advocate for providing great public schools, has continually championed efforts to improve education and bring unique learning opportunities to all children.
One such opportunity was the NEA's joint effort with Verizon to bring a rare copy of the Magna Carta to the United States for an exhibit at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia in July 2007. The exhibit, titled Magna Carta: Foundation of Freedom, coincided with the NEA's national conference in Philadelphia.
"The CBCF applauds Reg Weaver's long-standing commitment to improving the U.S. education system," said CBCF President and CEO Elsie L. Scott, Ph.D. "He has been a passionate advocate for quality education and for providing solutions to problems that plague inner city and other schools that serve the poor and minorities."
The Excellence in Education award is named in honor of former U.S. Rep. Augustus "Gus" Hawkins, a longtime education and civil rights advocate.
During his congressional career, Hawkins played a key role in enacting Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which bars job discrimination based on race or sex. After retiring from Congress in 1991, Hawkins created The National Council on Educating Black Children, which advocates improving educational opportunities for African-Americans.
"My generation is forever indebted to trailblazers like Augustus 'Gus' Hawkins," said U.S. Rep. Kendrick B. Meek of Florida, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. "Where barriers existed, he tore them down. When history was made, he was at the forefront. Similarly, Reg Weaver has earned his place in history as a critical voice on public education in this country and abroad during his six-year tenure at the National Education Association.
"Reg Weaver led a groundbreaking organizational transformation effort designed to improve the quality of public schools," Meek said. "I am honored to present Reg Weaver with the inaugural Augustus 'Gus' Hawkins Excellence in Education Award for his hard work in helping students reach the excellence of their human potential."
Kathy Brown, Verizon senior vice president, public policy development and corporate responsibility, commended Weaver as a leader in championing the use of technology to expand learning opportunities.
"Thanks to Reg Weaver's leadership, learning is taking on a new meaning," said Brown. "Reg understands the power of the Internet to bring vast educational resources to teachers, parents and kids. That's why he's such a strong supporter of Verizon's signature program, Thinkfinity.org.
"I am delighted that we are joining with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation to honor Reg for his commitment to bringing innovative technologies into the classroom," Brown said.
Weaver, who began his education career as a middle school science teacher, served two terms as president of the 3.2 million-member National Education Association. He also serves as vice president of Education International, a 348-member organization representing more than 29 million teachers and education workers in 169 countries. He has addressed conferences and forums sponsored by numerous national organizations, including the U.S. Conference of Mayors, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), National Council of La Raza (NCLR), Rainbow Push Coalition, League of United Latin Citizens (LULAC), ASPIRA and ACORN.
Verizon, and its philanthropic arm, the Verizon Foundation, have a long-standing history of working with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation on programs to support educational achievement.
The Verizon Foundation supports the advancement of literacy and K-12 education through its signature program, Thinkfinity.org, and fosters awareness and prevention of domestic violence. In 2007, the foundation awarded more than $67.4 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the United States and abroad. The foundation also matched the charitable donations of Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in $25.1 million in combined contributions. Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation's largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered more than 3 million hours of community service since Verizon's inception in 2000.
For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizon.com/foundation.
The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Inc. was established in 1976 as a nonpartisan, nonprofit, public policy, research and education institute to help improve the socioeconomic circumstances of African-Americans and other underserved communities. Each year, CBCF sponsors the Annual Legislative Conference (ALC), which provides a national forum to develop strategies and viable solutions to public policy issues facing Black America. In addition, CBCF produces district-level programs throughout the country to explore public policy concerns and promote public health, economic empowerment and financial literacy. CBCF continues to help prepare the next generation of leaders with its fellowship and internship programs. These programs encourage students to pursue careers in public policy and public service and to increase the representation of African-Americans among Congressional staff.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving nearly 69 million customers nationwide. Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network. A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 228,600 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of $93.5 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.