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(2/16/04 Cambridge, MA) Reverend Jesse Jackson addresses Harvard Law School's Saturday School. He reflects on the 1984 election. (Staff Photo By Matt Stone. Saved in Tuesday )

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WASHINGTON, Sept. 13, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Following a two-year hiatus from virtual productions, the Café Mocha Network announced today that the 2022 Salute THEM Awards ‘My HBCU joy’ will return to an in-person celebration on Tuesday, October 18.  Presented by Toyota Motor North America and AARP, the event will be held at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington, D.C. for an evening of celebration, interactive award recognition and musical performances.

The evening will bring together Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) enthusiasts to honor the rich history of the 102 HBCUs whose graduates are transforming the world as we know it today.  Honorees includes:

  • Civil rights icon and North Carolina A&T alumnusthe Rev. Jesse Jackson
  • Grammy Award winner Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott
  • Mother of Juneteenth holiday Opal Lee
  • 13-year-old Alena Analeigh,the youngest Black person to be accepted into medical school
  • Construction company owner Devon Henry(Norfolk State University), whose company was contracted to remove Confederate monuments in Virginia
  • Photographer historian David ‘Oggi’ Ogburn (Howard University)
  • Champion for diversityNicole Tinson (Dillard University), CEO of HBCU 20×20
  • Dynamic media duo Shante Bacon (Hampton University) and Saptosa Foster (Spelman College)
  • Journalist and host of the Cross Connection on MSNBCTiffany Cross (Clark Atlanta University)

Renowned actor and activist Lamman Rucker (“Greenleaf”) will co-host the awards with Café Mocha Radio hosts Angelique PerrinYoYo and Loni Love saluting the evening honorees. The evening will begin with a special reception hosted by Toyota Motor North America in recognition of their support of the Century In The Making exhibit and AARP will highlight their work of the ‘Divine 9’ historically Greek-lettered organizations.   Attendees will be invited to ‘represent‘ their institutions’ spirit with their attire.

“Amplifying the achievements of some of our brightest leaders is more than a celebration–it’s a way to honor and inspire the next generation,” said Alva Adams-Mason, Group Manager, Toyota Social Innovation.

Howard University alumna and Salute THEM Awards Creator/Executive Producer, Sheila Eldridge states “My HBCU Joy’ is the only awards program that honors the contributions of HBCU graduates and reflects the unique experience of attending an HBCU, providing the love, the life lessons and relationships that last a lifetime.”

AARP has maintained a long-standing partnership supporting the work of the Divine 9. Through sponsorships of national and local conferences and forums that educate on caregiving, savings and planning, and mental health, AARP celebrates their commitment to education, advocacy, philanthropy and service to the community.

“As part of our commitment to serve Black Americans age 50 and over and celebrate their lives as they age, AARP is excited to reunite with Café Mocha to salute incredible alumni and organizations who contribute to the rich legacies of HBCUs,” said Shani Hosten, AARP Vice President, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

The 2022 Salute THEM Awards ‘My HBCU Joy’, presented by Toyota Motor North America and AARP, serves to support the Mocha Cares Foundation, which empowers women and children in local shelters through mentorship programs to combat homelessness and domestic violence.

From Cheyney University’s distinction as America’s first institution of higher learning, to the rebirth of Morris Brown College, there is no better time than now to ‘salute’ revered HBCU institutions and the graduates who continue to make a profound impact on the world. Now in its 12th year, the Salute THEM Awards ‘My HBCU Joy’ is a part of Café Mocha’s annual ‘Saluting Our Culture’ award series that honors the full spectrum of the African American experience.