Judge Greg Mathis brought the crowd of over 700 to their feet at the Motor City Casino Hotel as the keynote speaker of the 2019 Michigan Chronicle Men of Excellence (MOE) Awards. The native Detroiter delivered a message of celebration and hope for not only the MOE honorees, but for every Black man in the room.
“The media portrays and projects our Black men as something they are not,” said Mathis, who grew up in Detroit’s Herman Gardens Public Housing Projects. “Most of us are family men, church-going men, and working men. And as I look around the room, I’m disappointed that the media isn’t here tonight as we celebrate 50 great Men of Excellence. But thank God for the Michigan Chronicle; we can tell our own story.”
In its 12th year, MOE recognizes local African American men who inspire others through their vision, leadership, exceptional achievements, and participation in community service. They are men who exemplify extraordinary stature, poise and integrity, and continue to break the mold and affect change in their professions and community.
In 2019, 50 new honorees joined the exclusive society of 600+ professionals who have previously received this distinction. These men influence those around them to go beyond the norm and strive for greatness. They are champions of our economic empowerment and diversity, the backbone of our business, religious and educational organizations, and driving forces in politics and service.
Some of the 2019 MOE honorees included Kenneth Kelly, Chairman and CEO of First Independence Bank; David Lewis president of AT&T Michigan; Dr. Willie White II, principal of Frederick Douglass Academy for Young Men; and Dr. Raphael B. Johnson, Director of The 180 Program, among others.
During the 2019 MOE Awards ceremony, the Michigan Chronicle presented its Vanguard Award to four African American men who have done, and continue to do excellent things in Detroit and beyond. The recipients included former Mayor Dennis Archer Sr., Wayne County Treasurer Eric Sabree, Tony Saunders, and Sylvester Hester.
“I remember when the opportunity was bestowed upon me to be a Men of Excellence honoree. It means a lot,” said Archer. “The Michigan Chronicle is the only newspaper that we can count on and will tell the truth as it relates to us. It is a very important publication, and everyone should have it in their homes or office, because it makes a difference.”