Amid the dreary, apocalyptic prediction of an eminent demise, there is a beacon of hope and it was very bright last Friday when the New Pittsburgh Courier held its annual Fab 40 soiree saluting the region’s young and emerging leadership.

Family, friends, co-workers and colleagues filled the Fairmont Hotel ballroom to fete the 40 honorees, all under age 40, for what they have already accomplished and shared high hopes for what collectively lies ahead.


“We are pleased to honor these aspiring leaders as the counterpoint to the negative,” said Rod Doss, editor and publisher of the New Pittsburgh Courier. “They have opted to be part of the solution instead of the problem.”

Some are the product of their own earliest determination; others sought triumph over personal tragedy while others had the common sense to make the most of the opportunities presented to them. They all possess a common denominator—focus.

K. Chase Patterson, a former Fab 40 honoree, served as the evening’s emcee bringing a fresh perspective to the proceedings with a blend of insight, reverence and a wry sense of humor.

Doris Carson Williams, president and CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce of Western Pennsylvania, was particularly proud of her co-worker Shawn Hicks, who turned a temporary staffing position into a 10-year career, now serving as office manager.

“To see so many outstanding young professionals, outstanding in their fields, it just makes you feel good,” said Williams. “It’s just an honor to be here.”

“This is a wonderful event for the Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania community,” said Allegheny County Councilman Bill Robinson, who provided individual resolutions for each honoree. “This is a group of beautiful, young African-American folks who are going to be the leaders of tomorrow and it is great that we’re finding another way to pass the torch to them; and congratulations to them and all their supporters.”

Tim Stevens called the evening, “a great event—anytime you can acknowledge young African-American adults doing positive things instead of all the negative stories in the media. If there is anything that we need in the community today it is positive young role models.”

Aliquippa Mayor Dwan Walker could barely contain his excitement as his twin Donald Walker (Aliquippa councilman) was honored. “It’s awesome to see my brother (be honored),” he said. “I couldn’t ask for anything better after all his hard work. I want my brother to be honored, he deserves to be honored. Tonight is his night!”

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