“In the whole world you know, there are billion boys and girls who are young, gifted and Black. And that’s a fact!”
While those lyrics from Nina Simone’s song, “To Be Young, Gifted & Black,” state that there are billions, nine of them were honored, April 1, at the annual Young, Gifted & Black awards, held at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel & Convention Center, Monroeville.
This year’s award recipients were Tyler Batiste (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette), Damian Gilliard (PNC Financial), Joel Gray (Pittsburgh Pirates), Sara C. Kyles (LEAD Pittsburgh), Tamara Lynn Mitchell (Omnis, Inc., Washington, D.C.), Darien Reynolds (Aliquippa Jr. High School), Ryan Scott (Urban League of Pittsburgh), Mattie Collins-Woods (Apprentice, IBEW Union) and Bofta Yimam (WTAE-TV).
“I’m very humbled to get this award,” Collins-Woods said. “You never know who is watching you. I just want to set the best example. (This award) gives us a chance to be recognized by our own community. It shows us there are still positive people doing positive things and setting the best example possible.”
Young, Gifted & Black is an organization created to equip African Americans and people of color with the necessary skills to become successful in their careers and their communities. The awards luncheon was a celebration of 10 years of recognizing African American men and women, ages 16-42, for their service and commitment to their community and profession. This year’s awards ceremony added nine more to the list.
“I’ve grown attached to all these young people because I am so inspired by them. They tell me that I inspire them, but you just don’t know what an inspiration you are to me. And I’m just so gratified,” said Arzella Stewart-McCauley, PhD, YGB founder and CEO.