About DC Vote's Champions of Democracy Awards Gala

DC Vote recognizes individuals, companies and organizations for their dedication to fulfilling the promise of democracy. These honorees represent the very best of American excellence and, with courage, exercise their liberties to speak out about the injustice of disenfranchisement. Through their actions and words, they defend our freedoms and promote our ideals. These Champions of Democracy understand that being disenfranchised affects all aspects of civic and community life.

Board Chair Vinoda Basnayake with Sen. Ben Cardin

Previous Honorees

2018 Champions

  • Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD)
  • Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD)
  • Aviva Kempner

2014 Champion

  • The Herb Block Foundation

2013 Champions

  • Mary Ann Stein | Moriah Fund
  • Veterans of the District of Columbia
  • U.S. Congressman Jose Serrano (D-NY)

2012 Champions

  • Julian Bond
  • Bruce Spiva
  • Thomas Boggs

2011 Champions

  • Maudine Cooper | National Urban League
  • Walter Smith | DC Appleseed Center for Law and Justice

2010 Champions

  • Smith Bagley (posthumously)
  • Kathy Schmidt
  • Andy Shallal | Bus Boys and Poets

2009 Champions

  • U.S. Congressman John Conyers (D-MI)
  • Wade Henderson & Nancy Zirkin | Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
  • Akridge

2008 Champion

  • Daniel Solomon | Co-Founder, DC Vote

2007 Champions

  • U.S. Congressman Tom Davis (R-VA)
  • The Honorable Hilda Mason & Charles Mason
  • Royal Kennedy Rodgers & Johnathan Rodgers

2006 Champions

  • The Honorable Jack Kemp
  • Carol Thompson Cole
  • Charles A. Miller

2005 Champions

  • Joe Sternlieb | Co-Founder, DC Vote
  • Joslyn Williams

2004 Champions

  • Sweet Honey In The Rock
  • DC City Councilmember Jack Evans
  • Catherine Hughes

2003 Champions

  • The Honorable Walter E. Washington
  • Mr. & Mrs. Phil & Jan Fenty
  • Jack Olender, Esq.

2002 Champions

  • U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman
  • U.S. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC)
  • Frank H. Rich Sr.

2001 Champions

  • Clifford Alexander Jr.
  • Major General Warren L. Freeman, Commanding General, District of Columbia National Guard, and the District of Columbia National Guard
  • Art Schultz III (posthumous award)
  • Roger Wilkins