COURIER MEN OF EXCELLENCE CLASS OF 2021 HONOREES ALLAN FRANCETTE, THOMAS BURLEY
Tickets still available for Sept. 22 event
Come to think of it, it’s been a while since 50 African American men from the Pittsburgh area were in one room, being honored for their collective talents and accomplishments.
February 22, 2019—more than three years ago—was the last time the New Pittsburgh Courier held its “Men of Excellence” awards ceremony in its usual, packed hotel ballroom style.
The pandemic caused the 2020 ceremony to be canceled, and last year, the ceremony was held in unique fashion—the 50 recipients were divided into four groups, and the groups each had their own ceremony inside the Savoy Restaurant and Lounge, in the Strip District, April 16. No family or friends were able to attend the four mini-ceremonies.
So, come Thursday, Sept. 22, the Pittsburgh region is in high anticipation for the Courier’s “Men of Excellence” awards celebration to return to its usual form. This year’s event will be held at the Sheraton Pittsburgh Hotel, Station Square. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets can be purchased by visiting newpittsburghcourier.com or by calling the Courier’s Allison Palm at 412-481-8302, ext. 136. The deadline to purchase tickets is Friday, Sept. 16.
CLASS OF 2021—COURIER MEN OF EXCELLENCE HONOREES ERIC GIBSON, CHESTER D. THOMPSON, ROGER W. DAVIS, ED.D.
“This is a great honor,” voiced Byron T. Allen, a 2021 Men of Excellence honoree, at last year’s event. “Thank you for highlighting all these people, including myself, who are trying to do good in the community.”
Luther Dupree, another 2021 honoree, said he was “blessed and honored to receive this award. I love doing the work I do, helping the community…and I’m going to continue to do what I do, and just work and strive to make this place a place to live, where everyone’s accepted.”
On a nightly occurrence, there is a perception on the news that all one sees is African American men doing negative things in the community. The showcasing of 50 African American men doing positive things in the Pittsburgh community is proof that perception is not reality. And it’s not “just 50” Black men doing positive things— there are many more, which is why the Courier aims to hold its “Men of Excellence” ceremony on a yearly basis, so that more Black men can be highlighted in the long-term.
“This is amazing,” expressed Brandon White, a 2021 honoree. “Never would have imagined that I would get a chance to be part of a group like this. Being able to come together, build a network together, and just really spend time encouraging, uplifting one another, there’s nothing like this.”
Each “Men of Excellence” class features a legacy honoree; in 2019, it was Bill Strickland, the former president and CEO of Manchester Bidwell Corporation; in 2021, it was Bishop Loran E. Mann, the longtime leader of Pentecostal Temple Church of God in Christ and former WPXI-TV reporter. This year’s legacy honoree is Tim Stevens, the forever-and-a-day community advocate and longtime leader of the Black Political Empowerment Project. He also served as president of the Pittsburgh NAACP.
“We are excited to once again showcase these outstanding men from throughout the Pittsburgh area. They are a beacon of excellence for others—especially our youths—to follow,” said Rod Doss, editor and publisher of the New Pittsburgh Courier.
COURIER EDITOR AND PUBLISHER ROD DOSS, LEFT, GREETS MEN OF EXCELLENCE HONOREES.