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2024 Frederick Douglass Award Honorees and Ann S. Kheel Honoree Bios

Honoree Bios: News

George Gresham

President, 1199SEIU

George Gresham is the esteemed President of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, the nation’s preeminent healthcare union. Gresham's journey in the labor movement began humbly in the housekeeping department at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan. Through perseverance and the support of the 1199 Training Fund, he ascended the ranks, ultimately becoming an MRI Technologist. Over four decades of dedicated service, he has held every elected position within the Union’s constitution, from member delegate to President, a title he has proudly held since 2007.

Under Gresham’s visionary leadership, 1199SEIU members have achieved unparalleled standards for healthcare workers nationwide, encompassing fair wages, accessible healthcare benefits, dignified retirement options, continuous education opportunities, childcare provisions, safe staffing ratios, and a meaningful voice in the workplace. Gresham's influence extends far beyond healthcare, as he has emerged as a leading voice for social justice issues at local, state, and federal levels. He firmly believes in the power of coalition-building within the labor movement to advance progressive causes, including equitable access to quality healthcare, living wages, racial and immigrant justice, gender and LGBTQI+ equality, and environmental protection.

George Gresham also serves on the boards of several esteemed organizations. Through his unwavering commitment to solidarity, justice, and equality, he continues to be a driving force in the labor movement, advocating tirelessly for the rights and well-being of workers across diverse sectors and communities.

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Honoree Bios: Text

Aurora James

Founder, Fifteen Percent Pledge

Aurora James, author of the widely acclaimed memoir Wildflower, Creative Director and Founder of luxury accessories brand Brother Vellies, vice chair member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), and founder of the non-profit advocacy organization Fifteen Percent Pledge, has long worked to make the global economy a more equitable place for historically excluded groups while working to build diversity in the traditionally white fashion industry.


In June 2020, in the wake of George Floyd's murder, James founded the Fifteen Percent Pledge. This non-profit advocacy organization urges companies and individuals to commit to increased diversity and representation in their business practices and buying habits. Since its founding, the Pledge has signed 29 pledge takers, including Nordstrom, Vogue, InStyle, and Sephora U.S., and helped over 625 companies launch their products with pledge takers.

In 2021, Aurora James became the first Black female designer to receive The CFDA Founder’s Award in honor of Eleanor Lambert and was named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. In 2022, James was also named one of Glamour magazine’s Women of the Year.

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Honoree Bios: Text

Renee McClure

Director of DNY Customer Account
Management, National Grid

Native New Yorker Renee McClure has been an employee of National Grid for over 40 years, with her expertise in Information Technology and Community engagement. The combination of technological skills and passion for the community has provided a win-win situation. She was instrumental in executing National Grid’s Project C initiative in New York State. Renee helped

execute the vision of President Rudy Wynter's vision by coordinating thousands of employees across New York State in community and service projects focused on clean energy, environmental justice and social equity, and diversifying the energy workforce.


Over the years, McClure has provided leadership to many organizations and currently, is the Community Chairperson of the Alliance of Black Professionals at National Grid, Co-Chair of the MWBE Committee Weeksville Heritage Center, National American Blacks in Energy NY chapter, board member of HeartShare, member of Women in Energy and Communications (WICE) among others.


The highly lauded and award-winning Renee McClure also serves as a motivational speaker, panelist, and trainer when called upon for non-profit organizations and religious institutions. McClure states I’ve only just begun, and as I travel through life, I hope our paths will cross again in a way that will inspire and encourage positive and fulfilling lives for all mankind.

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Honoree Bios: Text

Camille Joseph-Goldman

Group Vice President, Government Affairs, Charter Communications

Camille Joseph-Goldman is the Group Vice President for Charter Communications, overseeing government affairs in the northeastern United States from Harlem to Bangor, Maine. Joining in 2016, Camille brings over a decade of political experience to Charter, working every day to connect communities throughout the northeast to Spectrum’s growing network and ever-expanding suite of products.

Joseph-Goldman got her start in politics at a young age, working for both Governor Spitzer and Governor Paterson in college. During that time, she also served as a field organizer for then-Senator Barack Obama. Years later, she became the National African American Vote Deputy Director in President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign. Shortly after a second historic victory with the Obama Campaign, she returned to New York City to serve as Political Director and Campaign Manager for former U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner’s 2013 mayoral campaign.


Camille Joseph-Goldman is deeply committed to the communities she works in and has the pleasure of proudly serving on the board of the National Action Network, Buffalo Niagara Partnership, The Lower Eastside Girls Club, Eleanor’s Legacy, and as a trustee for the Citizen’s Budget Commission of New York City. She values the importance of education and youth empowerment in her life and that of others. Today, she mentors at various youth empowerment programs across the City and is involved in several educational and healthcare initiatives for underserved youth in Jamaica and Haiti.

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