The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) today announced the selection of Rhonda Walker of WDIV-TV Local 4 in Detroit as the recipient of the 2018 Angelo B. Henderson Community Service Award.
The award recognizes a journalist who has had a positive impact on the community outside the normal realm of journalism and was named in honor of the late Angelo B. Henderson, who as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal won a Pulitzer Prize and later became a highly respected minister, community activist and radio talk show host.
As the morning drive anchor for WDIV-TV Local 4, Walker is one of the top television journalists in the Detroit market. She has a burning desire to give back to the community through events and other volunteer work, logging over 100 appearances each year.
Whether it be emceeing events or spearheading initiatives around fitness, Rhonda has proven to be an inspiration in the community. She is also making a difference in the community through the Rhonda Walker Foundation which she started 15 years ago. It is dedicated to empowering inner-city teen girls by developing their confidence, morals and character allowing them to take their rightful place as future leaders. Walker works closely with the participants during the five year "Girls into Women" program.
"I was blessed to get my first job in television 20 years ago in Detroit, the city where I was born. It was an honor, a privilege and tremendous blessing and I quickly felt a calling from God to use His blessing upon my life to bless others," said Walker. "As journalists, we are keenly aware of the needs of our community and rather than just report on those needs, I wanted to hold myself accountable for doing something to make a difference. Four years into my career, I founded the Rhonda Walker Foundation and our core five-year "Girls into Women" program to empower inner city teen girls."
Walker also said the program has produced results, "I am extremely proud that now in our 15th year, we have graduated 12 classes of seniors out of our award winning and comprehensive college prep, career, personal development and mentoring program. We have a 100% high school graduation rate among our teens that complete our program. They are all students in the Detroit Public Schools Community District and 100% enroll in a 4 year college or university and 95% of our girls graduate from college as well. I am deeply proud of our outcomes and the impact the program has on the lives of under privileged kids in Detroit."
NABJ President Sarah Glover applauds Walker for her commitment to underprivileged girls in Detroit, "To produce such life changing and amazing results for our young girls makes Rhonda an excellent choice to receive this award named in honor of a man who also dedicated his life to making a difference in Detroit. It is also fitting that NABJ is presenting this award to Walker during our convention and career fair which is returning to Detroit after 26 years. It is also noteworthy that Angelo B. Henderson served as president of the Detroit chapter back in 1992."
NABJ Region II Director Vickie Thomas nominated Walker and said, "Rhonda serves as a shining example of a journalist who uses her status in the community to effectuate change. She epitomizes the spirit of NABJ's Angelo B. Henderson Community Service Award. She is the perfect choice to receive this honor."
Walker says receiving this award is special and personal, "To be recognized by NABJ for my service to the Detroit community is a tremendous and humbling honor and I am extremely grateful. Learning that this award is named after a man I truly looked up to professionally as a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and successful radio host is truly special. But I also looked up to him personally, his energy, his ever present infectious smile and incredible willingness to help others is a bar that can never be reached. It is hard to find the words to truly express how much an award in Angelo B. Henderson's name means to me. It is truly one of the highest honors I could ever receive, thank you so very much."
Walker will be honored at NABJ's 2018 Salute to Excellence Awards ceremony on Saturday, August 4 during the NABJ Convention and Career Fair at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center.
NABJ Convention registration and Salute to Excellence Awards tickets can be purchased here.
For more information on the Foundation, and to learn how you can help positively affect the life of an inner city teen girl, please visit the RWF's website, rhondawalkerfoundation.org.
About National Association of Black Journalists
An advocacy group established in 1975 in Washington, D.C., NABJ is the largest organization for journalists of color in the nation, and provides career development as well as educational and other support to its members worldwide. For additional information, please visit www.nabj.org.