The African American Leadership Awards Institute, a leading Michigan-based organization, last week recognized individuals, organizations and corporations for their accomplishments, achievements and significant community contributions in Michigan
The program theme was “Black Lives Matter!” “Black Votes Matter!” “Black Leadership Matters!” Held annually during Black History Month, the evening’s program featured the presentation of its 3rd Annual African American Leadership Awards, taking place at Southfield-based Lear Corporation.
The ceremony, sponsored by the Lear Corporation, Ambassador, Heritage, the Rickman Enterprise Group, Laborers Local 1191, attorney Godfrey Dillard, U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence, and the Michigan Democratic Party, acknowledged the accomplishments of the men and women who have significantly contributed to the quality of life for all and work to enhance justice and equality for the citizens of Michigan. By charting their own course and living purposeful lives, these individuals empower and remind us that, with hard-work and dedication, we can all make a difference.
“It was honor to recognize the African American leaders who are laying a foundation for the next generation of leaders in our state and our communities,” stated Nancy Quarles, vice chair of the Michigan Democratic Party. Quarles, who also serves on the Oakland County Commission, added that one of her favorite aspects of the annual awards event is “seeing the mixture of current African American leaders and the next generation of leaders following in their footsteps.”
Quarles also pointed out a few of the highlights of the evening for her, which she said included seeing Wayne County Executive Warren Evans receive the Leadership & Legacy Award, Gregory Eaton of Lansing, the first African American Lobbyist in the State Capitol, and former State Representative Alma Stallworth, both of whom were honored with the Political Pioneer Award, as well as recognition being given to future leaders like Ingham County Commissioner Sarah Anthony (Mid-Western Regional Leaders Award) and Inkster Councilman Jewell Jones (The Emerging Black Democrat Award).
Dr. Pamela Pugh Smith of the Michigan State Board of Education, who served as the evening’s Mistress of Ceremony, said she saw this event as a time to remember African American history and recognize those who are carrying the torch forward and continue to fight for equality and justice.
In light of the crisis in Flint, the Institute encouraged those attending the event to donate bottled water to be transported to Flint, compliments of the Rickman Enterprise Group. Immediately following the event, a truck was to follow Councilman Eric Mays back to Flint to deliver the water.
The African American Leadership Institute is a coalition of people working collaboratively to make a difference in the community. Comprised of a distinguished body of exemplary thought-leaders, the African American Leadership Institute’s purpose is to serve as a conduit between the community’s outstanding leaders to advocate for equal justice for all people.
2016 AFRICAN AMERICAN LEADERSHIP HONOREES:
The I-75 Corridor Regional Leadership Award
- Eric Mays
- Claire McClinton
- Bishop Bernadel Jefferson
- Pastor Alfred Harris
- Reverend Allen Overton Nayyirah Shariff
The Southeast Michigan Regional Leaders Award
- Helen Moore
- Greg Peoples
The Western Michigan Regional Leader Award
Benton Harbor Councilman Duane Seats
The Mid-Western Regional Leaders Award
- Dietrich Martin
- Ingham County Commissioner Sarah Anthony
The Annette Rainwater Grassroots Organizer Award
The Labor Leader Award
The Bob Millender Political Strategist of the Year Award
The Great Expectations Award
The Political Pioneer Award
Honorable Alma Stallworth and Greg Eaton
The Emerging Black Democrat Award
Councilman Jewell Jones of Inkster
The Business Leader of the Year Award
The Staff Leader of the Year Award
The Leadership & Legacy Award
Wayne County Executive Warren Evans
The John Conyers Jr. Black Legislator Award
State Representative Brian Banks
The Michigan Black Democrat of the Year Award
Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett