Washington, D.C. - Today, as we celebrate the start of Black History Month, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that he will honor five Pennsylvania innovators for their dedication to creating innovative solutions to the Nation’s most pressing issues and for their work in inspiring the next generation of leaders. These innovators include: Lorina Marshall-Blake, Joan Myers Brown, Sulaiman Rahman, Rakia Reynolds and Omar Woodward.
“These five pioneers are providing creative and impactful solutions for America’s most critical issues,” said Senator Casey. “They have dedicated their lives to improving their communities and empowering future generations and they should be celebrated. I am honored to have these leaders join me in Washington later this month as we celebrate their accomplishments and discuss inventive to continue their work.”
More on the Honorees:
Lorina Marshall-Blake has been the president of the Independence Blue Cross Foundation since its founding in 2011. Her leadership in this role has positively impacted the health and wellbeing of underserved communities in the Southeastern Pennsylvania region. Marshall-Blake is strongly committed to her community, serving in over 30 professional and civic organizations, including the United Negro College Fund and the Urban Affairs Coalition.
Joan Myers Brown, DFA, DHL, DA is the Founder and Executive Artistic Director of The Philadelphia Dance Company and The Philadelphia School of Dance Arts. She is a pioneer in the national and international arts communities, working to increase the representation of people of color in mainstream dance. Among many awards, she received the 2012 National Medal of the Arts, the nation’s highest civic honor for excellence in the arts.
Sulaiman Rahman is the CEO of DiverseForce, a social enterprise that aims to develop diverse leadership pipelines and inclusive ecosystems in the public, private, and philanthropic sectors. He also founded the Urban Philly Professional Network (UPPN), which has been engaging, empowering, and connecting Philadelphia’s next generation of diverse leaders for over 10 years. He serves on the board for Community College of Philadelphia Foundation, Mastery Schools, TeenSHARP and the YearUP Greater Philadelphia Chapter.
Rakia Reynolds is the founder and CEO of Skai Blue Media, a multimedia communications agency with lifestyle, technology, and nonprofit clients such as DELL and Serena Williams. She serves as a founding board member of the Philadelphia Chapter of Women in Film & Technology, The Arts and Business Council of Philadelphia and The National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications.
Omar Woodard is the executive director of GreenLight Philadelphia, a social innovation fund which aims to transform the lives of children and families in high poverty urban areas by investing in programs like Center for Employment Opportunities, which is dedicated to providing employment services to individuals with recent criminal convictions. He is a board member of the Philanthropy Network of Greater Philadelphia, Girard College Foundation, and the Global Philadelphia Association.
More on Senator Casey’s Annual Black History Month Symposium:
Each February, U.S. Senator Bob Casey commemorates Black History Month by honoring a Pennsylvanian who has offered significant contributions to the African-American community. The celebrations, typically in Washington, D.C., culminate in a floor speech, symposium and reception with leaders and activists from across the Pennsylvania national political communities. Previous honorees include: Councilwoman Marian Tasco, Congressman William H. Gray, III, Mayor Dr. Wilson Goode, Sr., C. Delores Tucker and Robert W. Bogle.
More details on the event to be released later this month.