With shootings occurring almost daily and most of the names listed on the homicide count falling under the age of 40, many people have the misconception that Pittsburgh’s African-American youth and young adults are doing nothing. Well they’re wrong and the New Pittsburgh Courier will continue to prove it at their annual Fab 40 reception, which will take place April 29 at the U.S. Steel Tower’s Upper Lobby, Downtown. The reception honors some of Pittsburgh’s most elite African-American men and women 40 years old and younger, who are doing amazing things to build their communities, while tearing down the misconceptions.


“It (receiving the honor) was very special to me. For the Courier to take the time to look at me that way and to recognize me for the work I’m doing within the church and the community, especially when there are others in Pittsburgh who are doing great things,” said Rev. Mark Tookes, executive pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church in the Hill District and one of last year’s honorees. “It is encouraging to individuals under 40 who are doing positive things.”

Dawnita Wilson, the program director of the Inclusion Initiative for UPMC, said, “It was a great opportunity to be recognized for being a young professional in the Pittsburgh region and it gives you a sense of accomplishment and a push to keep doing what you are doing.”

Fab 40 honorees come from a wide range of professions, such as health care, business, sports, community, business, the arts, education, media and social service.

Like Rev. Tookes, Coston Funeral Home Inc. owner and former Fab 40 recipient Roland Coston-Criswell, said that receiving the award was special to him not only because he was chosen among so many, but also because, “The Courier is a historical newspaper and it means a lot to the Black community. So it was an honor to receive it from (a prestigious organization).”

“It was great to be honored by an organization that focuses on culturally specific professional especially in a region that is dominated by other cultures,” said Cynthia L. James director of Public Allies Pittsburgh and also a 2010 honoree. “It’s always nice to be recognized, but it’s even nicer to see everyday people who are doing everyday things being honored.”

When asked for what advice she would give to future honorees, James said, “To encourage the future honorees to continue to do their work, not for recognition, but to advance the needs and ideals of others.”

Tookes said recognitions for young adults, like that of the Fab 40, are important, “Especially in these times and days because people are not always recognized. The press is so quick to publicize the negative and not enough press is given to those who are striving to do better and make Pittsburgh a better place.”

Not only is the Fab 40 recognition a motivation for other young professionals to strive towards, Wilson said. It is also an inspiration for the youth of the community. It shows them that they can make a difference at any level in their career and encourages them to strive towards something, she said.

For this year’s honorees and the ones after them, Wilson said she hopes that with the acceptance of the award, they continue to be change makers, to work hard and that they continue to do the work they are passionate about.


Joel Acie, Emmai Alaquiva, Vernard Alexander, Marisa Bartley, Kenya T. Boswell, Siobhan Brooks, Carmen Bruce, Crystal Bynum, Kevin Carter, Robert Chambers III, Yolanda Covington-Ward, Eugene Curtain, Belinda Curtain, Camille Davidson, Latika Davis-Jones, Brian Edmonds, Tisha Germany, Dr. Marilyn Griffin, Branson Holly II, Neal Holmes, Rev. Cornell Jones, Nicole Manns, Bethany Miller, Marimba Milliones, Khari Mosley, Vincent D. Moye Jr., Allyce Pinchback, Jarvis Powers, Jessica Brooke Ruffin, Tamiko Stanley, Les Scales, Oronde Sharif, Paul David Spradley, Kezia Taylor, Esq., Iyana Tennon, Natalia Thomas, Sonya M. Tilghman, Melissa Wade, Ericka Wingfield and Lance A. Woods.

(For more information on the Fab 40 or to reserve tickets, call Save the Date at 412-781-3486 or email savethedate_pgh@yahoo.com.)

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