From Civil War to Civil Rights

The Washington Association of Black Journalists (WABJ) held our sold-out, inaugural Special Honors Awards gala on December 10, 2022 with awards presented to five of the region’s top journalists and communicators.

The event drew a crowd of media professionals to Eaton DC to celebrate the Special Honors Awards 2022 Honorees:

Adelle M. Banks – Lifetime Achievement
Hamil Harris – Legacy Award
Tracee Wilkins – Journalist of the Year
Nolan D. McCaskill – Young Journalist of the Year
Lon Walls – Excellence in Communications Award

Fox 5’s Marrisa Mitchell and Politico’s Eugene Daniels co-hosted the program. Special guests included DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha N. Braveboy, Export–Import Bank of the United States President and Chair Reta Jo Lewis, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation’s President and CEO Melanie Campbell, journalist and commentator Roland Martin and local NABJ founders.

The gala and our 2022 honorees were also covered by The Washington Post, the Washington Informer, POLITICO, WHUR-FM, The Philadelphia Tribune, and The Los Angeles Times, among others.

There were a few surprises too. Trina Williams was honored with the President’s Award for her over two decades of service with WABJ’s Urban Journalism Workshop (UJW), an annual program that teaches journalism fundamentals to DC area high school students. Williams recently ended her five-year stint as program coordinator. 

The event also featured an appearance by actor Jalyn Hall, starring as ‘Emmett Till’ in the movie “TILL”, who presented a $10,000 check to WABJ President Khorri Atkinson to support the newly created WABJ Investigative Journalism Scholarship. TILL is in theaters now. Watch TILL | “A Mother’s Power” Featurette

This vision could not have been realized without the support of our generous sponsors: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (the event title sponsor), Washingtonian, Eaton DC, AXIOS, Democracy Fund, INSPR Media, FTI Consulting, The Washington Post, PhRMA, PEPCO, Punchbowl News, Brandire, AFSCME, The Washington Informer, Center for Public Integrity and the Los Angeles Times.

The accolades do not have to end with the gala though. Let’s celebrate Black excellence all year long.

Join WABJ as we continue to work to support Black media professionals who pursue truth and work to tell our stories the way we want to see them told. WE SEE YOU!


Founded in 1975, the Washington Association of Black Journalists is an organization of Black journalists, journalism professors, public relations professionals and student journalists in the D.C., metro area. WABJ provides members with ongoing professional education opportunities and advocates for greater diversification of the profession.