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General Motors Hosts its 11th Annual Black History Month Celebration

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Chevrolet and the General Motors African Ancestry Network (GMAAN), an employee resource group, explored the “Power of Possibilities” at GMAAN’s 11th annual Black History Month Celebration.

With this year’s theme, Power of Possibilities, GMAAN spent time reflecting and honoring those who have dedicated themselves to lead key initiatives within the African American community tied to GMAAN’s key pillars of product awareness and advocacy, employee development and community outreach.

“GMAAN, like many others during the month of February, takes time to acknowledge and reflect on the relentless journeys, perseverance, ingenuity and creativity of black people. As well as men and women of all races, backgrounds and organizations that have helped to promote and continue to promote inclusion, justice and equality for all,” said Ofori Agboka, HR director for North American Manufacturing and Operations and the current GMAAN president.

The employee resource group took time to highlight the accomplishments of its own members, including:

  • In 2016, GMAAN members made more than 950 vehicle referrals, and influenced the purchase or lease of nearly 500 GM vehicles.
  • In 2016, GMAAN supported several charities and organizations through its community outreach, and was responsible for donating more than $375,000.
  • In 2016, GMAAN continued its professional development initiative by hosting a series of lunch and learns, and facilitating 46 small mentoring groups that touched approximately 300 employees.

The GMAAN Black History Month Celebration draws more than 1,000 people annually and is a much anticipated community event in Metro Detroit. This year’s event featured renowned DJ and songwriter MC Lyte as the mistress of ceremonies and a performance by singer-songwriter and producer Faith Evans.

Actress and philanthropist Holly Robinson-Peete delivered a keynote address. Chevrolet then presented Robinson-Peete with a $10,000 donation to the HollyRod Foundation, the charitable foundation she created to address people affected by Parkinson’s and autism.

The 2017 Honorees included:

  • Trailblazer Award – Holly Peete-Robinson, Actress, Author & Co-Founder of the HollyRod Foundation
  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Benjamin Chavis, Jr., CEO and President of Newspaper Publishers Association
  • Marketing Excellence Award – Paul Edwards, U.S. Vice President, Chevrolet Marketing
  • Image Award – MC Lyte, Emcee-Songwriter, Philanthropist, Actress and DJ
  • Inspiration Award – Shamayim “Shu” Harris, Founder and CEO of Avalon Village in Highland Park
  • Career Achievement Award – Tonya Matthews, President and CEO, Michigan Science Center
  • Entrepreneurial Spirit Award – Robert Courtney, Founder of UNEEK (Unifying Nationalities by Encouraging Education & Knowledge
  • Community Enrichment Award – Edmund Lewis, Founder and Executive Director, Minority Males for Higher Education

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