BY JURRY TAALIB-DEEN
Journal Staff Writer
Recipients awarded ‘The Twilas’
For the Toledo movement of Black Lives Matter, fighting to save, preserve, and advance the lives of African Americans are just a few of the components of their overall mission. Recognizing, and then honoring those who give of themselves, for the advancement of the African American agenda, is another crucial component.
During their First Annual, Black Lives Matter Awards Ceremony, held at the Frederick Douglass Community Center, 1001 Indiana Ave., the Community Solidarity Response Network of Toledo, CSRN, awarded 10 people, under 40 years of age, for giving of their time to help advance the lives of African Americans.
Each recipient would receive a handcrafted, wooden statue from Ghana. The award is called ‘The Twila,’ named after Twila Page, a Toledo native, who has fought for decades, helping to advance the lives of African Americas, particularly children. Julian Mack, public relations spokesman for CSRN, told The Toledo Journal that having the award named after Ms. Page, represents the actions of a great person, who has done great things for Toledo.
Washington Muhammad, representative for CSRN, said the organization likes to apply a non-traditional approach to organizational tactics. For example, he said that the young people of the organization took the time to search out, and identify the 10 award recipients, as opposed to having the older members select the recipients.
This award ceremony is our way to recognize the people who give of their time, yet, aren’t widely recognized by the majority of the people for their service, he explained.
‘The Twila’ Awardees:
Vanice Williams, principal at Life Skills High School, where she helps young people between the ages of 16 and 21 get their high school diploma;
Minister Chris McBrayer, who hosts rallies on various issues important to the African American community, as well as hosts an annual shoe drive for those in need;
Ty Cleveland, founder of IMPACT College Initiative Program which is an early college program for Middle School children, and he sponsors a yearly college campus tour to the Historically Black Colleges and Universities;
Hunter Prey was awarded for his spoken word pieces that speak to the plight of African Americans, as well as his contributions to the Black Lives Matter Movement, and other organizations that work to better the lives of African Americans;
Kyndra Gaines, a freshman at the University of Toledo, was awarded for her volunteerism in numerous outreach initiatives, including heading up a Black Student Union lock-in on the campus to raise funds for the organization Toys for Tots;
Alicia Smith, director of the City of Toledo’s Youth Commission, was awarded for her efforts at helping to better the lives of young people within Toledo, as well as her volunteerism at The Frederick Douglass Community Center;
Tyrone Jacobs Jr., a Junior at the University of Toledo majoring in engineering, was awarded for his on-going efforts of speaking at elementary schools in Toledo helping to motivate, and inspire young people to reach for high goals;
Julia Clemons was awarded for her volunteerism at shelter houses throughout Toledo with the homeless, as well as female victims of domestic violence;
Roshawn Jones, head boxing and wrestling coach at Soul City Boxing and Wrestling gym, was awarded for his works at helping fight childhood obesity, keeping kids out of trouble, helping them obtain jobs and attend college; and
Marcus Walker, who is described by Washington Muhammad as an “Outstanding citizen,” was awarded for his mentorship to young people.
In addition to the award ceremony, CSRN donated a financial contribution of $300 each to four non-profit organizations. Those organizations were the Ben E. Williams Youth Services Inc., FAMED Studios, Soul City Boxing, and the Martin Luther King Kitchen for the Poor.
Mr. Muhammad added that, since Minister Louis Farrakhan, head of the Nation of Islam, challenged the people of America, on October 10, 2015, to help make the central cities of America a safe, and decent place to live, the CSRN has diligently been keeping up with that directive.
In addition, Mr. Muhammad said that, the editor of the Final Call newspaper, a weekly and national newspaper for The Nation of Islam, called the members of CSRN, and congratulated and encouraged them to continue their efforts.