The New Pittsburgh Courier will again honor some of Pittsburgh’s most dedicated and talented individuals at their Fab 40 event March 26 at the US Steel Building, Downtown. The event honors 40 African-Americans under the age of 40, who are making strides to uplift the Pittsburgh community.
JADA GRANDY and K. CHASE PATTERSON
“It was an honor any time someone is recognized for their good work, whether it be in their profession or in the community, it is exciting,” said K. Chase Patterson, field representative for Councilman Mike Doyle and one of last year’s Fab 40 honorees. “But along with the honor comes an expected charge to continue one’s good works.”
Damion Wilson, of Adagio Health Center for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention, said he was surprised when he was notified that he would be among the honorees. “I was really surprised. I did not even know I had been nominated. It is quite an honor to know what you do is really making a difference.” He explained that it’s humbling; because one never thinks that when they’re doing this work they’re going to be recognized.
Out of numerous nominations, only 40 of Pittsburgh’s elite young Black leaders are chosen for this prestigious award. Editor and Publisher of the New Pittsburgh Courier Rod Doss says, “We congratulate the honorees and are proud of their leadership and efforts as they continue to serve in our region.” He adds that the chosen few are individuals who have proven their talents in their area of expertise and are those who have been highly recommended in the nomination process.
“It is important to acknowledge that everyone has a role to play in the shaping of our community and important to recognize those that are up and coming. They are a part of a new vanguard that allows the community to see their active engagement in helping to shape our community,” Doss says.
Like Patterson, Jada Grandy, vice president and CRA Officer at Fifth Third Bank and last year honoree, agrees that the award was an honor and adds, “It felt good and was a humbling experience to be recognized for things that are second nature to me and that I love doing-which is making sure I reach back to help someone else whether professionally or in the community.”
Not only does the award recognize the elite, but many agree that the Fab 40 and awards like it prove that young Black people are doing positive things in the community and that there is more than the negativity that is often portrayed.
“Awards like this and the work that the honorees do is proof that positive things are happening and that we are empowering the rest of our community and people can look to the Fab 40 honorees as examples for how we can encourage our youths,” says Jara Dorsey, Community Outreach Specialist for the Carnegie Museum of Art and 2009 honoree.
Grandy says she feels the Fab 40 highlights those who are not necessarily always in the forefront, but that are still making an impact in their contributions to the community. “True leaders inspire others and just because they are not visible to the community or in the forefront does not mean they’re not leading or making a significant impact in the community.”
Patterson adds that this award helps to rejuvenate the image of young Blacks in the region. He also says that there is also a certain responsibility for other individuals to support the events and activities of the young people that are doing things in the community.
For the new and future honorees, Eddie Edwards Jr., attorney and agent/representative at Burns, White and Hickton says, “When you are bestowed an honor from a prestigious newspaper like the Courier-embrace it, share it with those who helped get you there and be humble.”
Lee Davis, of the Community Empowerment Association and past honoree adds that after the award, “(honorees should) not only keep working hard but give back or reach back and help someone that is outside of there normal comfort zone.”
While it is easy to get caught up in the occasion, Patterson says, “This is not only an opportunity to celebrate, but to remind ourselves of what we can do when we come together as a community.”
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