With nearly 400 guests filling the ballroom at the Fairmont Hotel, Downtown, to celebrate the New Pittsburgh Courier’s Fab 40 Class of 2018, honoree Marcus Poindexter, assistant professor of Social Work at Chatham University, said he was not only overwhelmed to be included, but also by the spectacle.
“This is wild, right? To see so many people. I’m so happy to be recognized. But everyone is gorgeous, right?”
Gorgeous? Yes. Fabulous? Definitely.
The June 7 awards reception celebrated the work, commitment and achievements of 40 African American men and women under the age of 40 who excel in their respective fields.
Community Empowerment Association President and CEO Rashad Byrdsong, whose stepson Martell Covington was among the honorees, praised the Courier for its continuing acknowledgement of young Black excellence.
“This is a great event because these are the kinds of young men and women we need to recognize,” he said. “They need to be celebrated, and I’m pleased to see the Courier doing that.”
Aja Thompson, a manager at BNY Mellon, is a second-generation honoree, so she was aware of the Fab 40 awards. And because of that, when she got the call telling her she was part of the Class of 2018, she thought someone was pulling her leg.
“I actually asked if it was a prank,” she said. “My mother was an award winner a few years back. To be included in this group of people is unreal. I’m very excited to be part of this.”
Thompson wasn’t the only one acknowledging a parent. Prior to congratulating all the winners with their personalized awards, Courier editor and publisher Rod Doss asked all the parents of the winners to stand and be recognized.
“We salute you,” he said. “Without your hard work and many sacrifices of patience, time—and money—we wouldn’t be able to celebrate these amazing young people.”
Doss also thanked the Courier staff for putting the event together, and sponsors UPMC Health Plan, the Pittsburgh Foundation, WPXI, La Roche College and the University of Pittsburgh for their support. He then turned the podium over to two-time Fab 40 honoree and veteran celebrity host K. Chase Patterson.
Patterson adroitly introduced all the winners, occasionally pausing to take humorous jabs at some of the recipients he knows personally—some of whom, just as lightheartedly, jabbed back.
“It’s an honor to be thought of in the same company as these people,” said City of Pittsburgh chief sustainability coordinator Aftyn Giles. “It’s a beautiful hotel, a beautiful event and I am excited just to be a part of it.”
Honoree James Doyle, executive director of Higher Achievement Pittsburgh, called the experience “surreal,” noting that as thrilled as he is with the honor, he’s more thrilled with the attention it brings to his mission of improving educational outcomes for African American youth.
“It’s an honor to be included,” he said. “It’s very cool, and it’s exciting because it also allows me to be able to showcase the work we do with our kids. So I’m glad to be here and to acknowledge our wonderful kids.”
That sentiment was echoed by Black Political Empowerment Project founder Tim Stevens, who was in attendance.
“I come to this event every year. I wouldn’t miss it,” he said. “This is the next generation. These are the young men and women who will be taking over. They should be celebrated and supported. That’s why I’m here.”
To see each of the 40 honorees with their award, click here…. https://newpittsburghcourieronline.com/2018/06/24/the-couriers-fab-40-class-of-2018/
To see all the group photos from the Fab 40 reception, click here… https://newpittsburghcourieronline.com/2018/06/22/ambitious-goal-oriented-determined-the-couriers-fab-40-class-of-2018/