By Howard Spence
EAST LANSING, MI -- On April 29, 2017, the Lansing Black Chamber of Commerce (LBCC) held its annual "Community Pillar Awards Gala" recognition dinner at the Walnut Hills Country Club. Well over 200 community leaders, minority business owners and supporters attended the event for a festive night to recognize a number of very deserving community members who have made and continue to make significant contributions to the well-being of the mid-Michigan minority economic and business community.
Those selected this year by the LBCC for special recognition as "Community Pillars" included John Boles, Dr. Forrest Carter, Dr. Sonia J. Norris, Willard Walker and Linda Sims-Wright. These deserving award recipients join a select group of recipients from prior years who together represent a very large and significant part of the leadership, entrepreneurial and public service spirit in the communities they serve.
"We are very pleased to be able to recognize and appreciate this group of five very dedicated community members who were selected this year to be our "Pillars" representing the types of business success and community service which serve as an inspiration to all of us – and especially to the next generation of young leaders who we hope will emulate them to make our community something even more special in the future," said Re'Shane Lonzo, LBCC President.
"We did not focus only on selecting individuals who have had great successes in business in our community. Some of these selected leaders who are selected to be recipients of Pillars in the Community awards this year have truly had significant positive impacts on the minority business enterprise community in our area for a number of years. But just as importantly, some of those who were selected have been mentors and advocates for minorities and minority rights and provided great public service to their neighbors right here in the greater Lansing area for decades."
In addition to the five "Pillar" awards presented, the LBCC presented recognition and "Entrepreneur on the Move Awards" to Wendy Bradley, Dontaye Garrett, Andre Hutson, Ashlee R. Willis and Lisa Young.
Dr. Ken Harris is the President and CEO of the Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce. He pointed out that the LBCC, which is one of the chapter of affiliates, has been especially successful in recruiting minority talent to step up and seek business and entrepreneurial careers. Dr. Harris also pointed out that black entrepreneurs and minority business enterprises in the Greater Lansing area have helped to employ hundreds of workers right here in our community.