By: Lisa Samuels, GC Media

Shemika Berry of Accokeek, Maryland gave a history lesson to the students at Harriet Tubman Elementary School in Washington, D.C on March 10.

Berry is a former Air Force officer, actress, and makeup artist. Just a few hours later, the Marylander made history as the first Harriet Tubman reenactor to perform at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center. In the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center, Ms. Berry performed for the Harriet Tubman Awards for Social Justice ceremony, which symbolizes freedom, justice, and equality for women in labor.

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This newly created award was passed on to the honorees, so future generations of women and girls will be able to follow the north star for social justice, said Don Victor Mooney, President of H.R. 1242 Resilience Project. Mooney coordinated Ms. Berry’s dual appearances for the day.

Guests included members of labor, clergy, congress, and staff, Maryland NAACP State Conference President, William Flowers and Worcester County NAACP Branch President, Ivory Smith, who was the co-coordinator for the program. The Mayor of Washington, D.C., Honorable Muriel Bowser proclaimed Harriet Tubman Day in the nation’s capital.

The room sponsor was U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) and former presidential candidate. A photo exhibition commemorating 100 year anniversary of a women’s right to vote showcased advocates for women’s suffrage from across the country was on display for the event.

Among other things, H.R. 1242 Resilience Project is leading an effort to rename the Virginia Inside Passage to Harriet Tubman Waterway, which was one of the corridors for slaves during the underground railroad. This waterway will honor all those that took this path, the abolitionist and Native Americans who offered refuge to slaves when needed. This legislation requires no appropriations from Congress, but just the will from lawmakers to act on.