The former first lady praised Abrams for her civil rights advocacy during the two-hour virtual event that aired live on Saturday across ViacomCBS networks, including BET and CBS.
“Her courage ... it’s contagious, her approach is inclusive, and her eyes are fixed on the mountaintop that has always brought out the best within us,” Obama said. “And that’s why it’s my honor to present the inaugural NAACP Social Justice Impact Award to the unstoppable Stacey Abrams.”
Abrams, whose longtime mobilizing and voting rights work in Georgia received wide praise after the state elected Democratic Sens. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff in January, accepted the award in a video that aired Saturday.
“I appreciate the recognition, but more importantly, I am grateful for the NAACP’s century of dedication to racial justice, democracy and equality,” Abrams said, in part.
She later added, “I share this award with all those who champion progress, equity and the truth of who we are and who we must become as a nation.”
The 52nd NAACP Image Awards celebrated Abrams for her efforts to combat voter suppression, including by founding Fair Fight Action, an organization that promotes fair elections in Georgia, in 2018.
Abrams, who served as the minority leader in Georgia’s state House of Representatives, became the first Black female gubernatorial nominee for a major party in the U.S. in 2018.
The voting rights activist was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize last month.