BLACK HISTORY IS MADE EVERYDAY
Throughout Black History Month, Big Brothers Big Sisters celebrated local Black heroes and Black-owned businesses and organizations.
Black History Month is only celebrated in February, but Black History is being made every day. Every month is Black History Month. As a result, Big Brothers Big Sisters highlights local Black heroes year round.
LOCAL BLACK HEROES
There are many Local Black Heroes here in Southwest Michigan. We had the honor of highlighting some who have made a deeply positive impact:
- Ralph P. Jones, President and CEO of R.J.’s Printing Inc., the only Black-owned printing establishment in Southwest Michigan.
- Sydney Davis, Executive Director of Black Arts & Cultural Center and founder of NixCode. Davis is creating equitable tech opportunities for all.
- Eric Cunningham, the youngest African American to serve as a City of Kalamazoo Commissioner.
- Rickeshia Williams, co-founder of Milk Like Mine in Battle Creek. She is actively addressing racial disparities and closing the infant mortality gap.
- Jeanne Mitchell, a secondary English and French teacher at Bangor High School. She is remembered fondly, even nearly a decade after her passing.
- Gwendolyn Hooker, CEO and Founder of Helping Other People Exceed (HOPE) Thru Navigation. Her life story of defying the odds inspires those around her.
- Monteze Morales, Director of Kalamazoo Promise Services at Kalamazoo Valley Community College (KVCC) and a liaison for formerly undocumented students. Her valuable contributions as an educational consultant help prepare students for academic success.
- Ervin Armstrong, a local Marriage and Wealth coach. He aspires to leave a legacy that shows a life lived pleasing God and building generational wealth.
These Local Black Heroes are the tip of the iceberg in Southwest Michigan. Their impact on our community makes a difference every single day. Their influence and presence make our community a better place.
BLACK OWNED BUSINESSES AND ORGANIZATIONS
Additionally, Big Brothers Big Sisters recognized some locally and nationally Black-founded organizations:
- Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, a national museum “devoted exclusively to exploring, documenting and showcasing the African American story and its impact on American and world history.“
- Black Lives Matter, founded in 2013 following the untimely murder of Trayvon Martin. They stand to “organize and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.”
- Mothers of Hope, who ensures “that our neighborhoods are well educated and equipped with all the knowledge and resources available to guarantee a better quality of life for all people here in Kalamazoo.”
- Rootead, a local enrichment center that offers “healing arts and birth work programs that are diverse, inclusive, anti-racist, and trauma-informed.”
It is an honor to highlight local Black heroes every month. Click here to sign up for our e-newsletter and get updates in your inbox.