Nicole Austin-Hillery Receives Distinguished Bison Breaking Barriers Award from Howard University

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) is pleased to announce that our President and CEO, Nicole Austin-Hillery is the 2023 recipient of the Bison Breaking Barriers Award from Howard University. The Bison Breaking Barriers award is a recognition presented by the Howard University Department of Alumni Relations to honor exceptional alumni who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership, innovation, and resilience in overcoming obstacles, while making significant contributions to their professions, communities, and society at large. The award celebrates the remarkable achievements of Howard graduates who have not only excelled in their respective fields but have also blazed new trails and challenged conventions, effectively breaking down barriers for future generations.

With a career deeply rooted in advocacy and social justice, Nicole Austin-Hillery has made significant contributions to civil rights and public policy. Prior to her role at CBCF, she served as the Executive Director of the US Program at Human Rights Watch, where she focused on issues such as criminal justice and immigration and racial justice. Austin-Hillery has also worked as a litigator, advocating for civil rights and equality in the workplace. Throughout her career, she has been a champion for marginalized communities, working tirelessly to promote equity and justice in American society. Her leadership at CBCF continues to shape policies and initiatives aimed at empowering African Americans and addressing systemic disparities. Nicole Austin-Hillery’s dedication to civil rights and social change has made a lasting impact on the United States.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors of the CBCF, I would like to congratulate Nicole on this recognition of her career achievements,” said Rep. Terri A. Sewell, Board Chair, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. “Nicole’s tremendous commitment to empowering the Black community is evident in her leadership at CBCF and in her dedication to our mission of advancing the political, economic, and social interests of African Americans.

“I am deeply honored to receive the Bison Breaking Barriers Award from Howard University, an institution renowned for its commitment to excellence, innovation, and social justice. I am particularly proud to be a graduate of the Howard University School of Law where the Houstonian principles of advocating for social justice and equity were a hallmark of my legal education. This award is a testament to the power of collaboration, advocacy, and the enduring spirit of the African American community,” said Nicole Austin-Hillery, president and CEO of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. “At the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, we strive every day to break down the barriers that hold back marginalized communities, and we do so with unwavering dedication. Together, with the support of institutions like Howard University, we can continue to forge a path towards a more equitable future for all and creating a pipeline for future leaders. This recognition is not just about me; it is a recognition of the collective efforts and resilience of countless individuals who work tirelessly to advance the cause of civil rights and equality. Let us use this moment as a catalyst for greater change, as we press forward in our mission to create a society where every person can reach their full potential, regardless of the barriers they face.”

Nicole will be honored during a ceremony on Thursday, September 21, from 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm. Please join the CBCF family in congratulating Nicole on this amazing accomplishment!