The Stellantis African Ancestry Network Diaspora (STAAND) held their first annual Juneteenth Legacy Gala on Saturday, June 18, 2022 at the Conner Conference Center in Detroit. The evening honored the legacy of Black artistic excellence while raising funds for youth arts education. The gala honored African American heritage, culture and art and was a prestigious evening of music, theatre and dance. Entertainment included spoken word by Khary Kumani Turner, saxophonist Randy Scott and special performances from The Hiplet Ballet Company.
“This year’s event is extremely meaningful to us as we raise awareness of Juneteenth’s significance to African Americans and recognize the many achievements and contributions we have made to our communities,” said Lottie Holland, director Diversity, Inclusion, Engagement & EEO Compliance at Stellantis NA.
During the gala, three organizations were honored with STAANDing Ovation awards for their commendable work in the Detroit community. Founder Horatio Williams of The Horatio Williams Foundation, Tarence Wheeler, founder and CEO of the Tarence Wheeler Foundation and Rhonda Walker, founder of The Rhonda Walker Foundation, were each presented with awards during the gala. Williams, affectionately known as the Godfather of Detroit, gave several touching testimonies of how his organization continuously gives back. “I [mentored] a young man since the 9th grade, and it was a rough start. I hadn’t seen him in two years due to COVID, and once he received his diploma, he remembered to come straight to [my office] and said the words ‘I graduated.'”
The gala concluded with several remarkable performances by The Hiplet Ballerinas. Following the awards presentation and soul stirring performances, the evening ended with an afterglow, where attendees danced the night away, networked, indulged in hors d’oeuvres and partook in photo booth festivities.
Photo Gallery courtesy of STAAND. Photo Credit Andrea Stinson