This award is given to the person who personifies the goals, hopes and aspirations of the International Black Women’s Congress. By being willing to work, to give of your time, your will, your effort, your soul, your very humanity to this cause. We recognize your work and wish to say from the bottom of our hearts that your are IBWC.

This award is named in honor of two men who embodied the spirit of the International Black Women’s Congress. They were neither frightened nor intimidated by the power, work and vision of women.

This award is given to show our profound appreciation and great love for the brother who remains steadfast in their commitment to the goals and vision of IBWC. These brothers give unselfishly, clear the path, stand on the square and “guard the door while the women work the magic.”

Victoria Jackson Gray Adams (1926-2006) was one of the most important Black Mississippians who participated in the Civil Rights Movement. She was also the first woman to run for the United States Senate from Mississippi.

At the Democratic Party Convention in 1964, Victoria Gray Adams, Fannie Lou Hamer and Anne Devine, making up the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, challenged the seating of the all white Mississippi Democratic Party. They did not win in 1964; however in 1968, all three women were seated at the national convention.

Their efforts permanently changed the manner in which state delegates are chosen by the Democratic Party National Conventions. Although several attempts were made on her life, Victoria knew the importance of freeing Blacks from the vicious system of segregation and white terrorism.

The International Black Women’s Congress was privileged to have known this wonder spirit; to have her as a member of our organization. For us, she embodied the strength of the shoulder on which we stand, the courage to defend our humanity, and the clarity and focus necessary to turn vision into victory on behalf of our people.

In her honor,The International Black Women’s Congress has established the Victoria Jackson Gray Adams Freedom & Justice Award

Victoria Jackson Gray Adams would tell us:”Life shrinks or expands in direct proportion to the courage with which we live it.” “When things are not going well, do not cry and complain; instead, be and build the alternative that’s needed.” “I am going to do what the Spirit say do…”

The Oni Award symbolized the essence of all that is good in African People. The word ONI is taken from the Ife culture of Nigeria. It represents a spiritual force that protects the people.

A recipient of the Oni Award has been identified as someone who protects, defends and enhances the general well-being of African people. A recipient of the ONI is diligent, persistent and uncompromising. We like to think of her as our unsung heroine.

With the creation of the Oni Award, the International Black Women’s Congress salutes those women in our communities who keep on working on behalf of African people. They are truly committed. Their vision is clear!