The Columbus City Council will host Annual Black History Month Celebration and Poindexter Awards Recognition on Friday, February 17, 2023, in a social media broadcast on the Council’s Facebook page and City of Columbus YouTube channel from 9.30 a.m.
“This year’s theme, “Black Resistance” explores the historic resilience of Black people and the fight to resist systems of oppression,” said Council President Shannon G. Hardin.
During the ceremony, Council will honor the recipients of the 2023 James Preston Poindexter Awards, named after Reverend James Preston Poindexter, the first Black member of Columbus City Council, with the winners being Janet E. Jackson, Judge Algenon Marbley, Sean L. Walton, Jr., Malissa Thomas St. Clair and NAACP-Columbus Branch, while Rep. Joyce Beatty will give the keynote at the event to be moderated by Andrew Kinsey of 10TV News.
2023 Poindexter Award Winners
Janet E. Jackson
Janet E. Jackson spent 14 years as president and CEO of United Way of Central Ohio, one of the largest United Way organizations in the country. She was the first woman and the first African American to lead the organization. Prior to coming to United Way, Janet served six years as Columbus City Attorney, a first for a woman in Columbus. Her election to that office was also a first for an African American. Before her appointment as City Attorney, Janet served nearly ten years as a Franklin County Municipal Court judge, making her the first African American female judge in Franklin County history. Under Janet’s leadership, United Way of Central Ohio steadily expanded its position as an organization that goes far beyond fundraising to mobilize its community to comprehensively address the root causes of poverty and create lasting, measurable change. She has been instrumental in educating local business and community leaders about poverty in central Ohio and in inspiring them to join with United Way in developing an integrated approach to providing the opportunities people need to rise above poverty.
Judge Algenon Marbley
Chief Judge Algenon L. Marbley is a federal judge on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. Upon recommendation from Senator John Glenn, President Bill Clinton appointed Judge Marbley to the bench in 1997. Judge Marbley became the Chief District Judge for the Southern District of Ohio on September 14, 2019, becoming the first African American to serve in that capacity. In his 24 years serving as a district court judge, Judge Marbley has presided over some of the most important cases in central Ohio and the country, ranging from voting rights issues to issues involving policing.
Judge Marbley also remains active in the community. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of The Ohio State University and serves on the boards of the KIPP School and Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The Washington Post adopted one of his statements during a trial as its motto: “Democracy dies in darkness.”
Sean L. Walton, Jr.
Sean L. Walton Jr. is a talented attorney who focuses on personal injury, wrongful death, and civil rights. He is currently a partner at Walton-Brown Law. Sean has been named a Rising Star in Ohio by Super Lawyers, a distinction only 2.5% of attorneys receive. He has also been named Top 40 under 40 by the National Trial Lawyers, the American Society of Legal Advocates, the National Black Lawyers, and the National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys. Sean is a member of the Board of Trustees for the American Association for Justice (AAJ). The AAJ provides trial attorneys with information, professional support and a nationwide network that enables them to most effectively and expertly represent clients. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Capital University African American Law Alumni Association. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Africentric Personal Development Shop, Inc and a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Malissa Thomas St. Clair
Mothers of Murdered Columbus Children
Mothers of Murdered Columbus Children was founded in 2020 to fight against community violence that is cutting the lives of Columbus residents short. Columbus native, Malissa Thomas St. Clair founded M.O.M.C.C. following with the tragic loss of her 22-year-old son, Anthony. Malissa now works with a group of mothers who work to improve the culture in our neighborhoods with family friendly events and marches to end violence. Everyday, M.O.M.C.C. puts pain to purpose to make the Columbus community a safer and more loving place for our children to grow up.
The Columbus Branch of the NAACP fights for equity for Black residents of Columbus. This branch of the oldest civil rights organization was established in 1915. Under the leadership of President Nana Watson, the Columbus Branch of the NAACP has played a vital role in seeking Social, Economic and Political Justice for the Columbus residents. The branch of the NAACP has been involved in the initial conversation to implement a Civilian Review Board, body cameras, a disparity studies on behalf of minority owned businesses, and in the economic development for African Americans in Columbus.
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