January 1st, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed off on the ‘Emancipation Proclamation’. A milestone etched in history that freed over 3.5 million African Americans from being enslaved. A day that millions were waiting for hundreds of years had finally come true.
The other evening at the Robert Tree Hotel in thriving downtown Newark we celebrated 157 years of freedom and Positive Community’s Twentieth Anniversary. IMU Media was in the building and conducting the production for the evening along with our founder being an honoree.
20 years ago a group of intelligent and creative African Americans set out with an idea and today that idea has turned into a movement that we will continue to push forward forever.
Last night’s award ceremony honored 7 individuals in the greater Newark area that have made a significant impact in their community. The awards banquet was sponsored by Prudential, PSEG, Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka, AARP, Berkeley College, RWJ Barnabas Health and McDonald’s.
The show was hosted by MC-Liz Black, from WBLS/WLIB Radio. The program opened with a prayer led by Louise Rountree a manager in the Mayor’s Office of Interfaith Clergy Affairs in the city of Newark. Next, the room stood as a video of Whitney Houston led us in the Star-Spangled Banner.
The ceremony than officially kicked off. One of the honorees was our very own Jovan Acree, who was honored alongside the likes of Founder, President, and CEO John E. Harmon, Sr. of the African American Chamber of Commerce Rev. Dr. Calvin McKinney, who built a $10 million dollar 1,500 seat sanctuary, Mildred C. Crump Newark’s first African-American Councilwoman, and Dr. Hazel N. Dukes the president of the NAACP New York State Conference and a member of the NAACP National Board of Directors.
Jovan Acree was rewarded for his outstanding work with the youth in Newark and was honored with the Young Innovator Award. Jovan started his IMU company while he was homeless raising his son to know partnering with Rutgers University and Express Newark. The young entrepreneur provides employment/internship opportunities for college dropouts and college students working in the media field.