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The National Education Association (NEA) Will Honor Dr. Patricia Payne During the 2020 Human & Civil Rights Awards Ceremony

The National Education Association (NEA) announces its 2020 Human & Civil Rights Awards will honor Dr. Patricia Payne with the distinguished H. Councill Trenholm Memorial Award. This award is given to an educator who goes beyond the call of duty to free the education profession from inequities based on race or ethnicity. 

Dr. Payne is the director of the IPS Racial Equity Office. She has spent 58 years working for the district as an educator and leading a wide variety of racial equity initiatives. Most recently, she was instrumental in helping the district create and approve a historic racial equity policy. Read the full policy here.

“To receive the NEA Human and Civil Rights Award at this time in the history of our country, when racism is finally being recognized for the insidious, systemic deceptor that it has always been, is, to me, prophetic,” said Dr. Payne. “There is still much racial equity and social justice work to be done if we are to save the lives and psyches of our under-served communities, and in particular, Black children.”  

Due to the ongoing pandemic, the NEA will host the first-ever virtual awards celebration at 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 1, at

The celebration will include a special performance by renowned opera singer Davone Tines. Other honorees include Stacey Abrams and the Philando Castile Relief Foundation. 

To read the NEA’s tribute to Dr. Payne, click here