News Release Header
For Immediate Release:
July 02, 2019

Media Contact:
Griselle Marino
[email protected]

Annual Community Pillars Awards ceremony held June 29

Scholarship recipients

Scholarship recipients from L-R: Deja Rambeau, Matthew Render, Crystal Forbes, and Jordyn Payton. Photo by Godfrey Mead/Miami-Dade County

MIAMI – More than 150 guests attended the Black Affairs Advisory Board (BAAB) Heritage Planning Committee’s annual “Community Pillars” awards and scholarship celebration on June 29. The event, held at the Miami Shores Country Club, allowed this year’s honorees to be celebrated by their guests and supporters during a brunch reception. Silent auction proceeds were added to the funds raised by the committee.

The Community Pillars recognized at the event included the following advocates:

  • MACY’S Aventura Store, received the BAAB’s ‘Corporate Pillar” for 2019 for their support of programs and students over the past four years.
  • Erica N. Wright, attorney in the Office of Legal Affairs for Miami Dade College and recently selected by Legacy Magazine as one of Miami’s 50 Most Powerful & Influential Black Business Leaders and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.,  Dade County Alumnae Chapter.
  • Reverend Kenneth McGee, Senior Pastor/Teacher of Greater Harvest Baptist Church of Miami and recently awarded the Florida Memorial University’s 2018 NAACP Image Award as a South Florida Outstanding Pastor.
  • Reverend Dr. Arthur Jackson, III, Senior Pastor of the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church of Miami Gardens, and leader of one of South Florida’s largest congregations. Also a member of Kappa Alpha Psi and Sigma Pi Phi fraternities.
  • Rasha Cameau, Director of the North Miami Community Redevelopment Agency and founding Director of the Little Haiti Cultural Center.
  • Kaleba Ngoie-Kasongo was born and raised in the Democratic Republic of Congo and is the founder of “Hear Congo” which empowers women in the Congo by promoting trade between the country and the United States.
  • Melonie Burke, Community Affairs Liaison in the office of Miami-Dade Commissioner Jean Monestime.  She has worked with community based organizations such as Girl Power, the Overtown Optimist, Belafonte Talcolcy Center and the Overtown Youth Center.
  • Pastor Victor Hickson, Senior Pastor for Full Deliverance Ministry of South Dade and founder of the “Victorious Way, Inc., a 501(c3), a non-profit organization that provides medical services to needy community members.

These honorees were selected for their support of programs or businesses which positively impact the community and have a deep commitment to public service. Most of these honorees have toiled tirelessly without fanfare for years in their chosen passion. The Black Heritage Planning Committee awarded scholarships to several “Young Pillars” — students who are enrolled in a post-secondary institution and were involved in various civic activities throughout high school.

The Young Pillar Scholarship recipients, their current and intended schools for this year are:

  • Deja Rambeau-North Miami Senior High-Miami Dade College (Medical)
  • Jewel Walden—American University, Washington, D.C.-(Environmental Science)
  • Jhordyn Payton, American Senior High, Broward Community College-(Biology)
  • Kerrington Freeman-Barbara Goleman Senior  High-Florida A&M- (Journalism)
  • Jeremiah Williams-Miami-Dade College-( Criminal Justice)
  • Matthew Render-Miami Norland-Wittenberg University (Sports Management)
  • Crystal Forbes-Hialeah-Miami Lakes Senior High-Albany State (Performing Arts)

“Most of our Young Pillars have overcome hardships in their young lives, but still found time to serve their community,” said Edgar Wright, chair of the BAAB’s Heritage Planning Committee. “This year’s Community Pillars reflect the deep passion that these individuals have for our community, and because of them, Miami-Dade County is a better place in which to live.”

Three students received scholarships from the Greater Miami Convention and the Visitors Bureau’s Black Hospitality Initiative (BHI). They will be majoring in Hospitality Management at Florida International University.

  • Widni Pinchinat
  • Yvonne Ducatel
  • Dave Bordes

To view all of the pictures of the event visit @advocacymdc’s 2019 Pillar Awards Facebook album. For more information, contact Retha Boone-Fye at (305) 375-4606 or [email protected]

The Office of Community Advocacy is charged with making Miami-Dade County "One Community" that embraces our diverse and unique population. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.


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