Governor’s Committee On People With Disabilities Seeks Nominations For The 2021 Barbara Jordan Media Awards

By: Governor Greg Abbott Press Office
| Published 01/05/2021

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AUSTIN, TX - The Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities (GCPD), in partnership with the Baylor University College of Arts and Sciences Journalism, Public Relations, and New Media (JPRN) program, are now accepting nominations for the 2021 Barbara Jordan Media Awards (BJMA). These awards seek to spotlight journalists who portray people with disabilities through a positive, person-centered lens. We are accepting nominations for outstanding media content created or published in 2020. The deadline for submissions is February 17th, 2021.

Each year, GCPD accepts nominations for media professionals and students who have produced media covering the lived experience of people with disabilities. Award-winning works use accurate and positive reporting, respectfully depict people with disabilities, and use people-first language. GCPD believes that journalists help shape our perceptions and thereby our culture; well-produced, creative stories illustrating people with disabilities as a person before all else benefits everyone. For a better idea of what this looks like, check out the previous winners listed on our website.

Elements in past winning entries include:

• Portraying people with disabilities as independent and productive
• Focusing on stories about people first and disability second
• Using people with disabilities as sources, rather than as examples
• Placing coverage in appropriate subject area (e.g. sports covered in sports section

Awards are presented in several different categories, including Broadcast, Photojournalism, Print, and College or High School Student. Winners are selected by a panel of professional journalists, people with disabilities, and disability services professionals. Self-nominations are welcome and encouraged in all categories. For more information, submission guidelines, and entry forms, please contact our office or visit the BJMA page on our website.

The Barbara Jordan Media Awards are named in honor of the Houston native and U.S. congresswoman who changed the world. Barbara Jordan was a trailblazer in her decades of devoted public service, and was known as a remarkable orator who broke barriers and built bridges. Among her many achievements, she was the first Black woman from the South elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, the first Black person elected to the Texas Senate since 1883, and the first Black person and first woman to deliver a keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. Her legacy is that of a champion of human rights and dignity. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994, the nation's highest civilian honor. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1973, Jordan eventually began to use mobility aids. She passed away in 1996.

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