The 2021 People Profile Awards took place on September 5th at the Civic Center in Sunrise, Florida. This fabulous event was a red carpet, black-tie gala that was hosted by Dr. Allan Cunningham who founded the awards six years ago. His wife, Judith Cunningham, was the evening’s co-host. According to Dr. Cunningham, the People Profile Awards serves to honor community members that have made outstanding contributions, as well as individuals who have garnered extraordinary achievements in a variety of areas—including sports, media, philanthropy, charity, leadership, and parenting just to name a few.
Headlining the evening’s star-studded list of award recipients and honorees was Jamaican track and field sprinting legend, Veronica Campbell-Brown—affectionately known simply as ‘VCB’. Also in attendance and playing the role of award presenters, were Oliver Mair (Jamaica’s Consul General to the Southern U.S.A.); Wayne Messam (City of Miramar, Florida Mayor); Dale Holness (who is currently running for a U.S. Congressional Seat); and Peter Gracey (Vice President of the People Profile Organization).
Lifetime Achievement Award – Veronica Campbell-Brown (Jamaican track and field legend)
The coveted and prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to individuals with at least 10 years of documented accomplishments in their chosen field of expertise. Moreover, the recipient of this award must have had a demonstrated impact on a large segment of people or organizations. Retired Jamaican track and field legend, Veronica Campbell-Brown, was this year’s winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award and deservingly so. As Jamaica’s most decorated athlete in history, 39-year old Campbell-Brown has had a career in track and field sprinting for the ages before announcing her retirement in June of 2021. VCB won 8 Olympic, 11 World Championships, and a bundle of other major championships and medals over the span of her career.
Humanitarian Award – Karelle Chang (President of the Lauderhill Chamber of Commerce)
The Humanitarian Award is one that recognizes community-focused work anywhere in the United States by persons who exhibit a devotion to the welfare of humanity. Karelle Chang is the President of the Lauderhill Chamber of Commerce. She garnered the Humanitarian Award not only as the result of her community service-driven work Lauderhill, but also through her charitable contributions aimed at furthering the development of the South Florida City of Lauderhill. Chang, who is a well-established entrepreneur and owner of Vintage Events, has plans to bring more resources to Lauderhill businesses, as well as implement strategies to counter a variety of issues identified as being faced by businesses in Lauderhill.
Covid-19 Resiliency Award – (Denise Grant — Vice Mayor of Lauderhill, Florida)
The recipient of the Covid-19 Resiliency Award has demonstrated the ability to persevere and recover from the trials and tribulations associated with the pandemic. In that spirit, being resilient is doing whatever is necessary to ensure that the community has both financial and emotional support during these trying times, while also being able to adapt and respond to a community’s need for food, safety, and purposeful leadership. In receiving the Covid-19 Resiliency Award, Vice Mayor Grant was recognized for her impressive efforts and work in conjunction with ‘Feed America’, which served to facilitate getting much needed personal protective equipment (PPE) assistance to the City of Lauderhill. What’s more, she assisted with the efforts from a logistical standpoint, to get Covid-19 vaccines to the Lauderhill in order to tamp down the spread of the pandemic in the city.
Parent of the Year Award – Tamica Quarrie
The selection of this award recipient looks at the level of challenges faced by the parent and the outcomes. Tamica Quarrie upon receiving this year’s Parent of the Year Award made a very moving acceptance speech by way of chronicling her personal journey in raising her four year old daughter who has cerebral palsy. A big challenge and outcome has been not only caring for her daughter, but also getting her to walk on her own. It was a very touching moment when Tamica hoisted her daughter with her onto the stage to take several steps unassisted.
Media Award – Lester Hinds (Jamaica Gleaner Writer & Journalist)
The Media Award accolade serves to recognize and honor persons working in the media industry for their outstanding representations to the community. In that regard, this award recognizes achievements in various branches of the media and arts—including music, theatre, advertising, and journalism. Longtime Jamaica Gleaner writer and journalist fittingly received the Media Award aaccolade.
Most Inspirational Award – Jawan Strader (NBC 6 South Florida reporter)
Recipients of the Most Inspirational Award have demonstrated the strength of the human spirit, while also reminding us how to become a better, more supportive, kind, and loving person. In his capacity as a reporter for NBC 6 in South Florida, Mr. Strader—through his program ‘Voices’—has shared stories of empowerment that have served to connect the black community in South Florida.
Community Sport Leadership Award – Jason Jenkins (Miami Dolphins – Senior Vice President of Communications and Community Affairs)
The Community Sport Leadership Award serves to recognize persons who have devoted not only their time, but also talents to an organization or an individual which enables them to participate in sports. Now in his 13th season with the Miami Dolphins, Mr. Jenkins in 2015 was named the team’s Senior Vice President of Communications and Community Affairs. In this role, he oversees various brands of the Miami Dolphin’s organization—including media outreach, public relations, digital and social media and community outreach efforts.
Community Leadership Award – Papa Duck
The Community Leadership Award serves to recognize persons who have volunteered their time in caring for the community. Rapper and producer, Papa Duck, was very deserving of this award in that he spent an immeasurable amount of his time volunteering in his community to mentor the youth while nurturing their development in becoming “assets and not liabilities”, as he so aptly put it.
Marie Gill Corporate Citizen Award – Marty Kiar (Broward County Property Appraiser)
The Marie Gill Corporate Citizen Award recognizes the leadership and achievements of business persons that have shown a commitment to their employees through programs that focus on health and wellness. Broward County (Florida) Property Appraiser, Marty Kiar, certainly fits this mold—especially when looking at the long list of awards that he has been awarded over the years for a litany of achievements.
Legacy Award – Shak’s Hope
The Legacy Award aims to identify persons that have been purposeful in forming an organization dedicated to the benefit of humanity. As such, the organization’s primary purpose must be to provide resources to communities that are physically or financially challenged. What’s more, to receive the Legacy Award the recipient(s) must not have been compensated for their efforts. This award went to Shak’s Hope for the organization’s tireless work to battle sickle cell anemia—including its partnering with the University Hospital of the West Indies’ Sickle Cell Unit.
Educator of the Year Award – Dianne Clarke
The Educator of the Year Award is a distinguished one indeed, as it was created to recognize those educators that have greatly contributed to and enhanced the intellect and scholastic experiences of their pupils through their teachings. Dianne Clarke has logged over 30 years of educational leadership experience, and is the founding Principal of Victory Academy which affords its students (average and above average) a private education from a cross-section of Jamaican society. She accepted her award via video, since was not able to be present in-person due to being attentive to the needs of students and faculty starting the new Fall 2021 academic period.
Surfside Recovery Courage Award – Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava
The recipient of the Surfside Recovery Courage Award has exhibited strength and courage in the face of adversity, as well as courage in the face of danger. So too, the recipient of this award has shown the willingness to lead under whatever circumstance and no matter the cost. Mayor Levine oversaw the rescue operations at Surfside in Miami Beach in the wake of the tragic collapse of a residential building complex, which resulted in the loss of 98 people. The award had to be accepted on her behalf due to losing her father in the previous week to the Covid-19 virus.
Music and Entertainment Award – Jo Marie Payton
The Music and Entertainment Award seeks to spotlight an impactful community-driven entertainment event, establishment, or person. In this vein, this award’s chief focus is that patrons received a high-value experience. Jo Marie Payton is a dedicated human rights activist and a four-time nominee for the NAACP Image Award. In addition, at Albany State College she started the Frankie Payton Scholarship Fund.
A fantastic time was had by all who attended the 2021 People Profile Awards, which was a well organized gala event that spotlighted the extraordinary achievements and community-focused endeavors of this year’s exemplary list of honorees.
All photos taken by Nick Ford, who lives and works in South Florida.