Patrons entered through a red-carpet experience before entering the ballroom of 350 seated attendees
(Fresno, Calif.) –Saturday, Feb. 4th, the (AAHCMSJV) hosted its annual Black History Month Celebration Banquet to honor the unsung voices of African-Americans from throughout the Valley at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Fresno Convention Center located at 2233 Ventura St, Fresno, CA 93721.
The celebration began with a dazzling red-carpet experience hosted by Ahjah Cruise, followed by a professionally emceed event by veteran comedian Feather Da-Wyz and KSEE 24’s morning news journalist Jessica Porter to a ballroom of more than 350 people from throughout the Central Valley.
The Black History Month Banquet commemorated local and national black history and celebrates black culture and contributions from throughout the Valley. AAHCMSJV always begins the celebration by honoring icons from the Valley who have strived to make a difference in their communities while surpassing roadblocks, challenges or other personal hurdles that usually interfere with one’s greater achievements.
In honoring their legacy, the term “Trailblazer” designates the accomplishments of a community leader who has helped any members of the community through service and/or leadership against all odds.
This year’s 2017 Trailblazers who were honored were Dezie Woods-Jones, Phd, Pastor Donahue Green, Gloria Smith, Fannie Hayes, Dr. Jerome Jackson, Michael McGough, Sam Lane, Dorothy “Dottie” Smith, Earl Myers, Rev. Dr. Henry I. Oputa, Rev. Paul McCoy and posthumously Rev. Julius Blaine Brooks.
Trailblazer awards were followed by two distinguished accolades; the Passing the Torch Award and the Shining Star Award. This year’s recipient of the Passing the Torch Award was Ozeme Bonette Cooley; the award was established to honor younger Trailblazers who lead their community and are on the path to becoming legendary trailblazers.
This year’s 2017 Shining Star Award, given to Central Valley-grown recipients recognized for their upstanding talents in entertainment and the performing arts, honored Salisha Thomas.
Pictures and video will be available for purchase on the AAHCMSJV’s website by the end of February.