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2015 RFK Awards: WPWG’s Darrin Bell wins for cartoons focusing on race, police

by DARRIN BELL (2014 Washington Post Writers Group)

DARRIN BELL has just won the 2015 RFK Award for Cartooning, the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights is announcing this afternoon.

Bell, whose editorial cartoons are syndicated by Washington Post Writers Group, won the award for a portfolio that largely focused on deaths at the hands of police in New York and Ferguson, Mo.

“Robert F. Kennedy has always been one of my personal heroes,” Bell tells The Post’s Comic Riffs. “He and his family embody the best impulses of America. They’ve worked tirelessly to advance the cause of social justice, to give a voice to the voiceless, and to empower the powerless.

“Along with Dr. King, the Kennedys have been a constant inspiration to me and to my work,” Bell adds. “The fact that what I do even caught their attention is deeply humbling.”

“Darrin Bell’s work in 2014 projected a unique point of view — as a black man, he’s ‘been there’ — on the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown,” Amy Lago, Bell’s editor at WPWG, tells Comic Riffs. “And he applies that empathy to all who are disenfranchised and powerless.

“Darrin is poignant yet irreverent,” continues Lago, who nominated him for the award. “And he has this incredible talent for pointing out what should be patently obvious but somehow is not.”

The Post Writers Group also syndicates Bell’s comic strip “Candorville.”

[Q&A: From Ferguson to New York cases, Darrin Bell draws deeply from the personal]

The annual RFK Book and Journalism Awards honor works that reflect “Robert Kennedy’s dedication to human rights and social justice, and his belief in the power of individual action.”

In other RFK Journalism categories, Post photographer Michel du Cille is being posthumously recognized for International Photography, for his portfolio “Ebola: A Desperate Struggle.” Du Cille died last December in Liberia, while reporting on the virus’s toll.

[RIP, Michel du Cille: Photojournalist. Storyteller. Visual genius.]

NPR News, ProPublica, PBS Frontline, the Los Angeles Times and the Miami Herald are among the other 2015 journalism winners.

The awards will be presented May 21 at the Newseum in Washington.