By J.J. McQueen,
Special to the AFRO

The Greater Baltimore Chapter of the National Action Network held its Black history celebration at the Arena Players. The event was themed, ‘Black History Month Matters’. Hosted by Larry Young, Chair of the NAN Greater Baltimore Chapter, and Radio Personality April Watts. 

In carrying out the vision of Rev. Al Sharpton of preparing communities through education, job training, and building businesses within the Black community, Mr. Young and NAN’s partners came together to honor other likeminded individuals for Black History month. 

Larry Young Chair of the NANGBC (Photo by J.J. McQueen)
April Watts, Radio Personality (Photo by J.J. McQueen)

Among the honorees was the speaker of the House for the state of Maryland, Mrs. Adrienne A. Jones. During her address she reflected on her journey of seeing the unique relationships of who she thought were everyday people. In her address, Mrs. Jones emphasized the importance of Black people celebrating one another daily. 

Speaker Adrienne A. Jones Holding up her NAN Award (Photo by J.J. McQueen)

“We have a rich history as a people, and something is happening every day that negatively impacts our everyday lives. How are we going to change that?” 

The event had a number of moments where individuals made references to the pioneering work and success of Black people. One pioneer and award recipient was Mr. Andre Johnson. Mr. Johnson is the first Black Councilman elected for Harford County’s District A. 

Harford County Councilman Andre Johnson (Photo by J.J. McQueen)

Chair of the Maryland Black Caucus Darryl Barnes also gave remarks. “I look at Black history as the struggle, progress, and future. 

With the focus being on local organizations, voices within Baltimore’s business community urged those in attendance to not patronize Black businesses when it’s popular during Black history month, but to make a daily effort to support Black owned establishments. 

Maryland Black Caucus Chair Darryl Barnes (Photo by J.J. McQueen)

Dr. Martin of The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum, “We just can’t go into our business to support when it’s popular, we have to do it all of the time, and we have to be intentional about. 

Dr. Martin Balcks In Wax Museum Founder (Photo by J.J. McQueen)
J.J. McQueen Afro Photographer receiving Media Icon Award on behalf of Dr. Frances Toni Draper (Photo by J.J. McQueen)

Following the remarks of a few honorees, Mr. Young and Ms. Watts acknowledged and awarded a list of community leaders in business, media, and unsung heroes. The Media Icon Award was given to Dr. Frances “Toni” Draper, Chairman of the Board and Publisher of the Afro, for her efforts in always providing uplifting content for the Black community. 

To find out more of about that National Action Network and its chapter click here

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