The NextGen America organization has held its first-ever awards show to recognize champions of social justice and diversity in the nation’s elections. Over the weekend, the organization’s founder, Tiya Miles, and her team held their annual gala in Washington, D.C., where celebrities like Jon Hamm and Jerry Seinfeld honored some remarkable survivors of inequity.
On Saturday night, Michaela Angela Davis, an African-American lesbian and transgender activist, won the Time Man of the Year award, which was presented by Obama appointee Ron Paterson, CNN and Time magazine.
“Oh, my God, oh, my God,” Davis said as she won, crying. “I felt like I had won the lottery, but I’ve won it twice.”
The organization also honored Maria Acosta of Nevada, Tyler Sawyer of Massachusetts, Georgette Aguirre of Iowa, and Thai Pookutr of Colorado, each of whom founded or helped found grassroots organizations. Attendees at the event also included the Congressional Black Caucus, advocates like New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, and Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger.
In a Twitter thread from her closing remarks at the event, Davis praised the ways that LGBTQ people, women, Muslims, immigrants, Black Lives Matter organizers, and people of color — many of whom are overlooked and disenfranchised in society — are being ignored in public discourse.
I could go on for another 2 days about the heartbreak, anger, and anxiety I feel seeing lives of marginalized communities literally stolen in front of our eyes, but I won’t. 😭 This is but one reason why I’m so proud to be an activist and why I urge everyone to fight every day for justice. — Michaela Angela Davis (@Davis1michaela) February 17, 2018
See this post for an example of why we should celebrate the Black Lives Matter movement and continue to support every strike, protest, march, social media campaign, vigil, or publication that keeps us mobilized. — Michaela Angela Davis (@Davis1michaela) February 17, 2018
Also, just know: A big part of what @pparishes asys & Dr. Bernice King and @BlackLivesMatter do is work to prevent kids from being shot. — Michaela Angela Davis (@Davis1michaela) February 17, 2018
Read the full list of honorees here.