On June 5, Associate State Director for Advocacy will be one of two recipients of the Margaret Bush Wilson Lifetime Achievement Award presented at the annual Freedom Fund Dinner sponsored by the St. Louis County Branch NAACP.
The award will be presented during a gala dinner at the Clayton Ritz Carlton Hotel at 6:45 p.m. Collins will also be féted during a private reception at 5:30 p.m. prior to the evening dinner program. The event theme this year is “your power, your vote, your decision.” U.S. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II of Kansas City and chair of the United States Congressional Black Caucus is the keynote speaker.
“Ms. Collins is being honored for her outstanding contributions to social justice and advocating for those who don’t have a voice,” said John Gaskin III, NAACP Region IV Youth Representative and Co-chair of the 2012 Freedom Fund Dinner St. Louis County. “No one can dispute the wonderful things she’s done for retirees,” Gaskin continued. “Her good character and good conscious speaks to her hard work for AARP in the legislature that translates to helping older Missourians and their families.”
Collins’ first position with AARP was Associate State Representative for Area VI, which was comprised of seven states. During AARP’s reorganization in 1995, Collins opted to transition to a newly created region in the northwest and new position as Legislative Representative based in Seattle. She was responsible for legislative advocacy for several states and led a team of volunteers to support those efforts.
“Since 1995, my work in legislative advocacy has been fulfilling because at the end of the day, I can point to my making a difference in someone’s life, Collins stated. “Making a difference is what AARP is and has been all about.”
“Receiving this lifetime achievement award in the name of Margaret Bush Wilson makes me feel proud and very humble,” Collins continued. “To be recognized for the work I do daily is an honor. I will continue to fight on behalf of those who are not able to fight for themselves and who expect AARP to take the lead on issues of importance.”
The Margaret Bush Wilson award is named for the St. Louis native who was an attorney and activist. She was the second woman of color admitted to practice law in Missouri and formed the law firm Wilson and Wilson with her attorney husband Robert in 1946. Wilson was instrumental in Shelley v. Kramer, a 1948 Supreme Court ruling that held housing covenants unenforceable. Wilson served as president of Missouri NAACP in 1958 and later became chair of the National NAACP Board of Directors in 1975 and served nine terms in that position.
Other individuals who have received the Margaret Bush Wilson Lifetime Achievement Award include Congressman John Lewis and Shirley Sherrod.