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Rev. Liz Walker among 4 honored with RFK Embracing the Legacy award

Rev. Liz Walker preaches during a service at Roxbury Presbyterian Church..
Rev. Liz Walker preaches during a service at Roxbury Presbyterian Church..Josh Reynolds for The Boston Glo

Boston’s first Black TV news anchor, the Rev. Liz Walker, will be one of four community leaders honored by the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps with the Embracing the Legacy award during its annual celebration next month.

Walker, the senior pastor of Roxbury Presbyterian Church, will receive the award during the May 11 virtual event along with University of Massachusetts President Martin Meehan, Jim Geraghty, Managing Director of Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management; Justin Pasquariello, Executive Director of East Boston Social Centers, the RFK corps announced.

A native of Arkansas, Walker joined WBZ/Channel 4 in 1980. She became a familiar household name in New England in her 21 years at the station. Through her work in both journalism and ministry, Walker has spent a lifetime advocating to bring education and mental health resources to the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable residents.

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In addition to founding the Jane Doe Safety Fund, a statewide anti-violence initiative that works on policy to support domestic abuse shelters and safe houses, she serves on Gov. Charlie Baker’s COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group, helping to combat historical vaccine hesitancy for people of color.

Walker credits a Little Rock high school journalism teacher who told her she had writing talent for starting her decades-long career in journalism. She also named Dr. Martin Luther King and Senator Robert F. Kennedy as role models who sparked her interest in social justice.

“Growing up in the civil rights era was being exposed to chaos, turmoil and amazing possibilities,” Reverend Walker said in a statement from the . “The leaders I remember most were King and Kennedy. Both men were extraordinarily courageous during the toughest of times and both men died for what they believed.”

In 1980, Walker moved to Boston to become the first Black weekday anchor for WBZ , now CBS Boston. There, she reported on stories of poverty and social justice around the globe, garnering her two Emmy awards and induction into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

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Walker changed paths after covering the slave trade in Sudan, leaving journalism to attend Harvard Divinity School. She eventually founded My Sister’s Keeper, a humanitarian organization focused on girls’ education.

“I’ve had some incredible experiences traveling the world throughout my career, including that journey to East Africa. It was there I felt like telling the story wasn’t enough. Something else had to be done,” Walker said.



Christine Mui can be reached at christine.mui@globe.com.