Amtrak Returns as Presenting Partner of Wizards Black History Month

Community Spotlight, Moments in History & Amtrak Pioneer Award to be Featured

WASHINGTON, D.C. – For the fifth consecutive year, Amtrak has partnered with the Washington Wizards and will serve as the presenting partner of the Black History Month platform which begins on February 1. The partnership will include This Moment in History Presented by Amtrak as an in-game feature, which highlights significant moments in African-American history. The Washington Wizards and Amtrak will also be honoring local community leaders each game during the Black History Month Spotlight Presented by Amtrak.

Additionally, America’s Railroad® will recognize three civic leaders with the Amtrak Pioneer Award during the Wizards’ game on Feb. 2 against the Charlotte Hornets. Since 2009, the Pioneer Award has recognized African Americans in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area who, through resolve and perseverance, have positively impacted their communities.

This year’s recipients are Lecester Johnson, chief executive officer of Academy of Hope, an organization that provides high-quality adult basic education; Ebony Lewis, executive director of Miss Believe, dedicated to enhancing the self-perception of adolescent girls; and Sultan Shakir, executive director of SMYAL,  an organization that supports and empowers lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.

“Amtrak moves America where it wants to go and serves the needs of our passengers,” said John Lee, Amtrak vice president, brand management and marketing. “The Amtrak Pioneer Awards allow us to honor leaders who work in the community and improve the lives of others.”

Past recipients include Donald L. Hense, the founder and chairman of the Board of Trustees of Friendship Public Charter School in Washington, D.C., Fabian Barnes, founder and artistic director of the dance institute of Washington; Dr. Jeffrey M. Johnson, president and CEO of the National Partnership for Community Leadership; and Roxanne J. Williams, the founder and president of Urban Ed, Inc.

“The Pioneer Award gives us a wonderful opportunity to highlight people within our community who are making an impact,” said Patrick Duffy, vice president corporate partnerships, Monumental Sports & Entertainment.  “Combining the awards with a month-long activation around Black History Month, Amtrak truly sets the standard for support of community platforms and initiatives. We value everything the recipients do to improve the lives of those within our community and thank Amtrak for recognizing their extraordinary work.”

About the Washington Wizards

The NBA’s Washington Wizards are owned and operated by Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which is one of the largest integrated sports and entertainment companies in the country with one of the most diverse partnership groups in all of sports. The company also owns and operates the NHL’s Washington Capitals, the WNBA’s Washington Mystics and Verizon Center, the premier sports and entertainment venue in Washington, D.C. Monumental Sports & Entertainment also oversees the management of Kettler Capitals Iceplex, the training facility for the Washington Capitals and the Patriot Center arena at George Mason University.

About Amtrak®

Amtrak is America’s Railroad®, the nation’s intercity passenger rail service and its high-speed rail operator. Amtrak and its state and commuter partners move people, the economy and the nation forward. Formally known as the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, Amtrak is governed by a nine member board of directors appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Anthony R. Coscia is board chairman and Jeffrey R. Moreland is vice chairman. In FY 2014, nearly 31 million passengers traveled on Amtrak on more than 300 daily trains – at speeds up to 150 mph (241 kph) – that connect 46 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian Provinces. Enjoy the journey® at or call 800-USA-RAIL for schedules, fares and more information. Like us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter (@Amtrak) and check out our blog at