Daytona Beach, FL – Today, the Republican National Committee (RNC) hosted its 4th Annual Black Republican Trailblazer Awards luncheon on the campus of Bethune-Cookman University, a historically black university (HBCU), in Daytona Beach , Florida. This year’s theme is “Pursuing The Promise.” The annual RNC event celebrates Black History Month by honoring Black Republicans who have blazed a path for future leaders. This year, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus presented the 2016 Trailblazer Award to Alphonso Jackson, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 2004-2008. The celebratory program also highlighted the Republican Leadership Initiative and included Black Republican elected officials, state and county party chairs, supporters, community leaders, students, and local and national media.
“Today we honor the contributions of Secretary Alphonso Jackson, an extraordinary individual who pursued the promise of the American dream during a long and successful career in both the public and private sector. While staying true to Republican principles, Secretary Jackson went from marching for civil rights to creating strong, sustainable, and inclusive communities for all during his time leading HUD. He dedicated his work to ensuring that all Americans, regardless of background, have equal opportunities to succeed and the chance to build a successful life. As we honor Secretary Jackson, a Black Republican trailblazer, we draw inspiration for building a better future and continue to pursue the promise of equal opportunity for all,” said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus.
RNC Co-Chairman Sharon Day said, “Today is a special day in my home state of Florida, on the campus of Bethune-Cookman University, where we honor the contributions of Black Americans to the Republican Party and our country. February fourth is also the birthday of Rosa Parks, who was also a true trailblazer. It was she who said, ‘Each person must live their life as a model for others.’ Looking at the life of our honoree today, Secretary Alphonso Jackson, I think he’s met and exceeded that standard, leaving a lasting legacy for our country and the Republican Party.”
Secretary and Trailblazer honoree Alphonso Jackson delivered the keynote speech following remarks by Chairman Reince Priebus and Co-Chair Sharon Day.
Secretary Jackson said, “I’m humbled that Chairman Priebus and the Republican National Committee would recognize me in this incredible way. I am blessed to have marched alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as we fought tirelessly for civil rights. It is special to receive this award at historic Bethune-Cookman University. Dr. Bethune will ever remain an icon in American history. It is because of the determined sacrifice of trailblazers before me, like her and my friend Dr. King, that I’m able to be recognized today for my contributions to the country.”
About the 2016 Trailblazer honoree:
Secretary Alphonso Jackson – Alphonso Jackson was appointed the 13th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), under President George W. Bush, in March 2004. He was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate based on his strong background in housing and community development and expertise in finance and management. Secretary Jackson later served as the distinguished university professor and Director of the Center for Public Policy and Leadership at Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia, a historically black university. Currently, Secretary Alphonso Jackson works as a senior advisor at First Data where he helps boost diversity efforts and expand business opportunities.
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