Chicago Defender Honors 2021 Men of Excellence

Each year, the Chicago Defender takes great pride in recognizing African American men in our community who inspire others through excellence, vision, leadership, exceptional achievements, and a commitment to empowerment in multiple ways. We are proud of the accomplishments of these men who are doing amazing things across broad spectrums of society.

“We salute men of valor who are not only doing remarkable work in their careers; but, equally as important, we are acknowledging men who give back to their communities. For most, doing a good job is expected, but the Chicago Defender Men of Excellence consistently raise the bar in career and community service efforts.”- Dyanna Knight Lewis, Publisher-Chicago Defender.

 The 14th Annual Chicago Defender Men of Excellence Awards celebrates local African American men who motivate others through their actions and character. They are men who exemplify integrity, stature, and courage. These men are forward thinkers in their given fields. The 2021 Men of Excellence embody paramount dedication, conviction, and dignity. They continue to break the mold and inspire change in their professions and communities.

The Men of Excellence awards honor admirable men and creates a strong network of like-minded men in the Chicagoland area. This year’s honorees include:

Gregg Arnold  Chef Manager Pier 31 Restaurant
Stephen W. Beard, Esq. Chief Operating Officer Adtalem
Jeffery Beckham Jr. Chief Executive Officer Chicago Scholars
Kevin Betton  Fire Chief Phoenix Fire Department
Jerry Brown, Esq. Attorney Siegel & Callahan, P.C
Darren Bryant Mayor City of Robbins
Vaughn Bryant Executive Director Metropolitan Family Services
William Andre Buchanan  CEO/Founder Will Buchanan Investments
Honorable Kam Buckner State Representative  Illinois 26th Legislative District
Kenneth Coles Executive Director/CEO DuPage Housing Authority
Derrick Curtis Alderman, 18th Ward City of Chicago
Mitchell R. Davis III Chief of Police  Village of Hazel Crest 
Rev. Dr. Patrick Daymond  Senior Pastor Covenant United Church of Christ
Al Debonnett Chief Operating Officer CyberBanque
Thomas Henderson  CEO/President.       Thomas B. Henderson Insurance Agency Inc.
Sean Howard CEO STHMEDIA LTD
Darryl Hughes CEO/Co-Founder Hughes Who Technologies Studio-NFP 
Terry Hunter CEO T’s Box/Chosen Few DJ’s
Gavin Jackson Co-Owner Jackson Nuckolls Group
Rael Jackson President Real Men Cook
Emmanuel Jackson  President Evanston Technology Partners
Luther Lampkin Director of Technology & Innovation RG Construction
Frank Latin  Founder & Executive Director Westside Media Project/Storyline Studios
Julious Lawson, Ph.D.  Chief of Schools  Chicago Public Schools
Alex Levesque  CEO/Founder  Automotive Mentoring Group
Marcus Manning Dean of Students LEARN Romano Butler
Cortez McCoy, Ph.D. Principal Walter H. Dyett High School for the Arts
Jonathan McGee Deputy Director           lL Department of Commerce & Economic Opp.
Rodric Miller Owner & President M5 Logistics Group Inc.
Sharone Mitchell Jr. Esq Public Defender Cook County
Rick Nesbitt Founder & Winemaker Vintrendi Wine Company
Pha’tal Perkins  Founder/CEO Think Outside Da Block
Dwayne Pickett Director of Regulatory Solutions ComEd
Marc A. Pullins Executive Director Jordyne Cares NFP
Shaka Rawls  Principal Leo High School
Hosea Sanders Anchor/Reporter ABC7 Chicago
Anthony Simpkins, Esq President & Chief Executive Officer    Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago
Honorable Elgie R. Sims Jr. Senator Illinois Senate
Thurman Smith  Senior Vice President/Market Manager PNC Bank
William Townsell Assistant Director Chicago Police Department
Damien Trimuel Senior Manager-Financial Planning  Northwestern University  
Mark Walker Owner  Oooh Wee It Is
Terry Wells  Village President Village of Phoenix
Michael Wilder, Esq. Shareholder/Board of Directors Member Littler Mendelson, P.C.
Keith Wyche  VP-Community Engagement & Support Walmart, Inc.

 

“This year’s honorees continue to break stereotypes about who Black men are and what they do. They show the world that the negative images and narratives that often describe black men are false. These men are powerhouses in our communities, and we are proud to honor them” – Danielle Sanders, Interim Managing Editor-Chicago Defender.

The Men of Excellence Red Carpet Awards Presentation Reception will take place on Friday, August 27, 2021, at Haven Entertainment Center, 932 East 43rd Street, Chicago, Illinois, from 6:00-8:00 pm with ComEd, as presenting sponsor; Samantha Thomas, WVON Radio Host as emcee, and Darryl Dennard, Broadcast Journalist and Host of Chicago Speaks will be keynote speaker. Tickets are still available.

COVID-19 safety guidelines will be in place as suggested by the CDC. Considering the increase in COVID-19 cases and the Delta variant surge, guests are preferred to be vaccinated; even so, masks/face coverings are required. We are excited to have an in-person event but are certainly mindful of safety and health concerns. Only ticketed guests will be allowed.

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