White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre to address Black and Hispanic journalists at Vegas convention

EXCLUSIVE: In a statement provided to theGrio, the first Black and openly LGBTQ+ secretary to command the press briefing podium says she is "honored" to participate in this year's joint convention.

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White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre will address thousands of Black and Hispanic journalists in Las Vegas for the joint convention of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), theGrio is reporting exclusively.

Newly appointed White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre holds her first news conference on May 16, 2022 in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The two leading organizations representing Black and Hispanic professionals in media and communications will host a “special conversation” on Saturday with Jean-Pierre, who made history in May as the nation’s first Black and openly gay LGBTQ+ person to serve as press secretary. 

Jean-Pierre will give remarks to the convention and career fair’s registered attendees at Caesars Palace. She will then participate in a Q&A with NABJ president Dorothy Tucker and NAHJ president Nora López. 

In a statement provided to theGrio, Jean-Pierre said, “The Biden-Harris administration knows the power and importance of media. We know that the work of NABJ and NAHJ makes journalism, and our country, fuller and richer.” She added, “I’m honored to travel to Nevada to participate in this year’s convention, and I look forward to discussing the work President Biden and Vice President Harris are doing to advance racial equity and create opportunities for all.”

The five-day convention is reportedly expecting about 5,000 attendees and is considered the largest gathering of Black and brown journalists, according to NABJ’s Tucker. 

Attendees of the WGN America’s “Underground” reception listen to a Q&A session during the 2016 NABJ/NAHJ Convention at Washington Marriott Wardman Park in Washington. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre will address the two groups on Saturday during their 2022 joint convention in Las Vegas. (Photo by Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for WGN America)

“It’s an opportunity for us all to come together because we have a lot of the same issues,” she told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “We face the same kind of problems in our newsrooms, so it’s an opportunity to join forces on a number of different levels. One, to talk to media leaders in a huge network. And, our (two organizations’) members work together in the newsroom. This way they get a chance to come together for the conventions.”

As White House press secretary and chief spokesperson for President Joe Biden, Jean-Pierre is often the first official within the executive branch to communicate with the media and the American public through daily press briefings during which she takes questions from the White House press corps, including theGrio. 

In addition to being the first openly gay and Black person to serve as press secretary, Jean-Pierre is also the first immigrant as the daughter of Haitian parents. When she officially took the podium in May, replacing Jen Psaki, Jean-Pierre reflected on what it meant to her to be a history maker.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre made history across several demographics when she assumed that role in May. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

“In this role, in this room, standing behind this podium, I am obviously acutely aware that my presence at this podium represents a few firsts,” Jean-Pierre said. “I am a Black, gay, immigrant woman — the first of all three of those to hold this position.”

She later told theGrio, “I do believe it’s not about me; it’s about this place; it’s about the work that I have to do every day [and] that we all have to do as a team to make sure that we communicate with you and communicate with the broader public.”

Gerren Keith Gaynor

Gerren Keith Gaynor is the Managing Editor of Politics and Washington Correspondent at theGrio. He is based in Washington, D.C.

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