LINC UP held a ceremony last night announcing the winners of its annual Community Spirit Awards which also kicked off its Empowered Communities Conference. For WGVU’s Mutually Inclusive, Mariano Avila has the story.
Jeremy DeRoo, executive director of LINC set the tone of the awards and conference saying that all the nominees and presenters whether they work on African American unemployment or children’s lead levels in zip code 49507 have one thing in common.
“They’ve been willing to look at these problems and say: ‘those are not your problems, those are our problems.’ They’ve expanded the definition of ‘we’ and have grown who they are so they can do this work.”
The night’s Visionary Award went to Grand Rapids Second-Ward Commissioner Senita Lenear, DeRoo cited for her role in standing up for the families of the four Black boys who were misidentified then held at gunpoint by the Grand Rapids Police Department.
“I will continue joint efforts of casting vision for our community. Because visionaries create the change they want to see, because it’s not their problem, we now know it’s all of our problem.”
Rev. Alvin Herring from the W. K. Kellogg foundation presented the Other awards.
“The first award is the innovation award, to an organization or program that has employed innovative strategies of their mission, developed something brand new, or put a new twist on an old idea to address community need.”
“The next award was for economic development within the urban core:
The Enterprise award is John Covington”
“For an individual that uses creative thinking and goes above and beyond for the mission and goals of their organization.
Community Spirit Award is Kelsey Purdue”
Other winners included Soulful Motion for the Community Wellness award, Outstanding collaborations went to The Urban Core Collective, and the Community Spirit Award for Youth, which went to Ariel Cannon.