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Celebrating Black History Month

As another Black History Month comes to a close, Detroit Phoenix Center looks back at a month of celebrating Black joy and excellence in our community.

We leveraged our social media pages to highlight leaders in the Black community who inspire us. Figures like Twiggy Pucci Garcon, activist, advocate, healer, and proud member of the LGBTQ+ community. Their work as a leader of True Colors United stands as an exemplar of combating the critical issues of youth homelessness in the US. We honored the late Cicely Tyson who paved the way for Black representation in the film industry to portray the community as dignified and strong, even in the face of trial and hardship. We praised Sean Anderson. The Detroit-based rapper who performs under the name Big Sean is a model of giving back to where you came from. From millions of dollars in COVID relief to Wayne State’s HIGH program, Big Sean is consistently championing Detroit.

It is time to commemorate Black excellence and joy in our everyday lives. African Americans and Blacks are part of a profound and difficult history of the building of the United States. Their contributions to all sectors of society are often overlooked and under memorialized. 2020 was a year of great impact and change. Black excellence means something different to each individual, and yet it culminated as love, camaraderie, passion, and light each time the community comes together. Black excellence is an every-rising beacon of light that will always speak through those who emulate it most — not only during Black History Month but year-round.

Black Excellence At Its Finest

Here, we’d like to elevate some of our local brothers and sisters working to create change in Detroit and beyond. Their service to the community is admirable and represents Black Excellence to the fullest.

Robert Thomas Founder, Foster Care Alumni of Michigan

Robert E. Thomas founded Foster Care Alumni of Michigan, a chapter of the national organization Foster Care Alumni of America. His goal to unify people by creating a platform for individuals who experienced the foster care system to speak from. Working from his own experiences in the foster care system, Robert now shares his story with foster youth and speaks to inspire them to focus on their education.

Chanel Hampton Founder & CEO, Strategic Community Partners

Chanel Hampton founded Strategic Community Partners, a national consulting firm that works with organizations by advising, designing, and managing projects and initiatives that advance equity with and for communities. Their services are at the intersection of strategy, culture, and community context. In addition to serving as the CEO of Strategic Community Partners, Chanel recently obtained a Doctorate of Education from Creighton University. Congratulations, Dr. Hampton!

David Sampson CEO, Mariner’s Inn

David Sampson serves as the CEO of Mariner’s Inn which serves as an anchor for those struggling to navigate the treacherous waters of homelessness and substance abuse by providing professional and compassionate residential substance abuse treatment for men. Mariner’s Inn also provides youth, adults, and families within the Detroit community the highest quality prevention and intervention programs.

Youth Member Spotlight

In celebration of Black History Month, we asked some of our Youth Members their experience with the Detroit Phoenix Center and, more importantly, to share what Black History Month means to them. Here are some of their answers!

Marquan Chosen Ruffin

A little about myself — I am a 20-year-old high school dropout who still had the opportunity to get my G.E.D and attend an HBCU (Livingston College). I was kicked out of my home at the age of 17 and have been on my own since which is how I met the opportunity of becoming a part of the Detroit Phoenix Center. While being a part of the program they have assisted me in more than one way. Whether it’s financial, mental, or spiritual guidance they’re always there. Thank you, DPC!!!

Q: What does Black History Month mean to you? A: The celebration of life for all black beings.

Tarra Hicks

I’ve always known what I would like to do in life. I have accomplished so much thanks to DPC. I took a leap of faith and was introduced to DPC and I have not looked back since. I am on the track of becoming a Nurse Practitioner and my family is thriving. I would like to continue the work I do and use my voice for those who cannot. I enjoy that Detroit Phoenix Center gives me the platform to continue to accomplish my dreams. “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” -Theodore Roosevelt.

Q: What does Black History Month mean to you? It means celebration. It means I can embrace my ethnicity and heritage and be proud of the woman I am.

Alexandria Hicks

I learned about DPC through my sister. I enjoy the different types of programs DPC has to offer. I have received help with a utility bill, help with a job, and food. My plans for the future are to help those less fortunate than me, focus on my kids, and be financially stable. I also am working on my license and getting a car.

Q: What does Black History Month mean to you? A: It means embracing my culture more, finding more about my history and ancestors.

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