Congresswoman Nikema Williams Leads Georgia Democratic Delegation in Honoring Tommy Dortch

Feb 09, 2023

WASHINGTON Today, Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05) honored Thomas “Tommy” W. Dortch, an Atlanta civic leader and fierce champion of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Mr. Dortch helped launch the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation Thomas W. Dortch, Jr. Institute for Leadership Development, Civic Engagement, Economic Empowerment & Social Justice Institute and Southern Regional Office at Clark Atlanta University. Congresswoman Williams introduced legislation to award a Congressional Gold Medal to Mr. Dortch. Congresswoman Williams led the entire Georgia Democratic Congressional delegation in introducing the legislation. 

Congressional Gold Medals are Congress’ highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions. To award a Congressional Gold Medal, at least two thirds of the House of Representatives must co-sponsor the legislation, and 67 Senators must co-sponsor the Senate legislation. 

Mr. Dortch’s son and other family members were in the House Gallery for Congresswoman Williams’ speech announcing her introduction of the legislation. Click here to watch Congresswoman Williams’ speech. 

Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05) said: 

“Tommy Dortch is a shining example of the power of an HBCU education, graduating from both Fort Valley State University and Clark Atlanta University. Mr. Dortch is a champion for HBCUs across the country because they are bridges to economic opportunity. Leading legislation that awards a Congressional Gold Medal to Mr. Dortch is an affirmation of his service to the American people. Generations of leaders have relied on Mr. Dortch’s expertise, and I am grateful to have learned from him in my political journey.”

Rep. Hank Johnson (GA-04) said: 

“Tommy Dortch, Jr. is a man whose cup runneth over – and at the end of each day, Tommy made sure that cup was empty. Not consuming the contents for himself, but in service to others. His example and legacy have and will continue to resonate profoundly. I’m proud to support the effort to recognize Tommy with the Congressional Gold Medal.”

Melanie L. Campbell, President and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP) and Convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable (BWR) said:

“The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and its board members are truly pleased to support the resolution introduced by Representative Williams honoring our Board Chairman, Thomas Dortch, Jr. with the Congressional Gold Medal. Thomas ‘Tommy’ Dortch is truly a ‘son of Georgia’ who has established himself as a businessman, a civil rights and social justice activist, a role model and mentor to many. He has long been an advocate for communities of color, and young Black men. He has been someone who has shown day in and day out, that the battle for those who have been marginalized in our communities is NEVER over and that we must continue to fight until our very last breath. Long before he became the chairman of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Thomas Dortch has shown all that have known him that to be true to the cause of civil rights and social justice, you can’t just ‘talk the talk.’ You MUST ‘walk the walk.’ And Tommy has done just that, making a lasting impact on the Black community through his efforts with the 100 Black Men of America, the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and his business enterprises. We are proud to support this resolution. Absolutely no one deserves the Congressional Gold Medal for their efforts more than Thomas ‘Tommy’ Dortch, Jr.”

Clark Atlanta University President George T. French said: 

Clark Atlanta University is honored that Mr. Dortch has provided Clark Atlanta University leadership on our Board of Trustees for the last 13 years; helping our team deliver education and empowerment to prepare our students to realize their highest potential. Additionally, my wife Dr. Bacon-French and I shall be eternally grateful to Trustee and Mrs. Dortch for their friendship, camaraderie, and dedication to the Beloved Community. 

Click here for the text of the Thomas W. Dortch Congressional Gold Medal legislation. 


Congresswoman Nikema Williams proudly serves Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District on the exclusive Financial Services Committee. She is a champion of voting rights and builds on the Fifth District’s legacy as the cradle of the civil rights movement as co-Chair of the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus. Congresswoman Williams is committed to closing the racial wealth gap and ensuring the promise of America for all–regardless of your ZIP code or bank account.


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