Introducing The Skillman Visionary Awards

20 Black Detroiters Making History

Detroit’s Black History is astounding. Black Detroiters have been on the forefront of the movements, art, culture, and ingenuity that we and the nation at-large celebrate in February and all year round.

We want to show the future of Detroit’s Black History.

The Skillman Foundation asked the community-at-large for examples of Black youth excellence that makes the world a better place. Below, we honor young people engaged in service, organizing, leadership, and support in their communities and who are making Black History.

1. Ama Russell & Eva Oleita

Ages: 17

Ama and Eva founded Black Lives Matter In All Capacities, which empowers Black people through education and awareness.

Read Ama’s response to the insurrection at the Capitol.

2. Andrew Scarborough

Age: 23

Andrew plants community gardens and delivers supplies to those in need in his neighborhood.

3. Angel Clark

Age: 21

Angel works with and advocates for Detroit’s deaf community through sign language intepretation and connections to resources during the pandemic.

4. Dallian Burnett

Age: 24

Dallian has spent the last 15 years serving his community, from feeding the homeless to leading fundraisers for charity.

5. Diamond Cannon

Age: 16

Diamond volunteers at a foster youth home in Detroit and with the deaf/hard-of-hearing community.

6. Elijah Anderson

Age: 14

Elijah works with Life Remodled‘s Youth Alliance, where he works to positively impact the cultures in the Durfee-Central community.

7. Jabari Jefferson

Age: 19

Jabari is the deputy director of 24-Hour Economy, which provides support to small businesses across Detroit.

8. Jacob Williams, Jayden Williams, & Alex Jones

Ages: 12, 16, & 16

While working with Rescue MI Nature Now’s Farm and Finance Program, these young men have helped to rescue, transform, and maintain over 30 parcels of land in Detroit.

9. Jalyn Baity

Age: 23

Jalyn mentors young men of color through the My Brother’s Keeper initiative.

10. Jeremiah Steen

Age: 19

Jeremiah is the director of the Steen Foundation which positively impacts the socialization of youth, promotes strong inquisitive thinking, and allows teens to advance their view of the community through a creative perspective.

11. Karl Stafford

Age: 22

After interning for State Representative Jewel Jones, Karl dedicated his life to promoting community and public health in Detroit and beyond.

12. Kenndall Wallace

Age: 17

Kenndall is an accomplished filmmaker who has made health-focused public service announcements and is working on a documentary on racism.

13. Khyiana Tate

Age: 17

Khyiana works with and supports Detroit’s deaf community and has protested for rights for people with disabilities.

14. Leiasia Hailey

Age: 20

A member of City Year, Leiasia has led many volunteering initiatives, including making sleeping bags for the homeless out of discarded chip bags.

15. Makiah Shipp

Age: 18

Among her many experiences in youth and community organizing, Makiah worked as a field organizer and youth outreach coordinator for Rep. Rashida Tlaib.

16. Perriel Pace

Age: 14

Perriel is a dedicated member of Detroit Heals Detroit, a youth-founded and led organization with a mission to combat trauma in young people and dismantle systems of oppression that creates harm for young Detroiters.

17. Tamera Middlebrooks

Age: 20

Tamera received community organizing training through the Mamma Lila Youth Civic Engagement Fellowship program, founded by Rep. Rashida Talib.

18. Tavon Toure

Age: 15

An accomplished musician and singer, Tavon has written music to uplift his community during the recent Black Lives Matter protests.

19. Wisdom Andino & Tiera Barnett

Ages: 18

Wisdom and Tiera founded Discover SELF Impact, which teaches financial literacy and confidence to local youth.

20. Zahria Liggans

Age: 18

Zahria is the president of Teen H.Y.P.E., where she works to educate her peers on community issues and mental health.

Do you know any young Black Detroiters making history? Share their stories in the comments below.

The Skillman Foundation

The Skillman Foundation is a grantmaking organization established in 1960 by Rose Skillman. We have granted out more than $730 million and have served as a vocal advocate to strengthen K-12 education, afterschool programming, child-centered neighborhoods, youth and community leadership, and racial equity and justice.

We are in the process of developing a new strategic framework, co-designed with Detroit youth and their champions.

Comments (5)

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  • Sanya Tyson Weston -

    Taylor Weston 15 a sophomore at Cass Technical High school. She is an international youth scholar and mentor at YPT Global Edge that has dedicated herself to creating the next generation of global citizens by exposing African-American youth to international travel, leadership development, diplomacy and ambassadorship.

    She has interfaced with fellow teenagers from Ghana, Kosovo, Mexico, El Salvador, and from around the U.S. exploring topics like the Northern Triangle, climate change, Black Lives Matter, diplomacy, ambassadorship and human rights.

    This has allowed her to volunteer in many capacities for organizations in Detroit such as Global Ties Detroit and Detroit PAL, introducing youth to the world.

  • Denise Barnes

    Ridgeley Hudson Jr. is an outstanding young man. He has exceeded so many odds that have been against him in life. Stereotypes that society may stamp on African American males. At a very young age he lost his mother and before he turned 14, his father passed away. It was his determination and his extended family who helped him get through. He beat the odds. He serves as a role model, he feeds the homeless, he works in the political field and helped with voter registration. He has worked alongside, the Detroit Public School Community District Superintendent, Dr. Vitti, and school board members. Mr. Hudson works tirelessly works in his community helping to make it a better and safer place to live in. He motivates not only the young but adults. He speaks at elementary graduations and tells his story about how he overcame the odds and stereotypes. He received over 2 million dollars in scholarship offers and is a freshman at Michigan State University. I am so proud of this young man. He has accomplished so much at a young age and he will continue. His future is bright. Thank you in advance for this opportunity.

  • Dr. George Swan III

    What inspiring young leaders. Congratulations on your outstanding work and best wishes for continued success in all your endeavors.

  • Timberly Gates

    Andrew is not about the problems, he is about finding solutions!
    He works with others in his community by asking what their needs are.
    He makes no assumptions that he has the answers.
    His gentleness and grace, and willingness to give of himself, stretches far beyond his age.

  • How A Majority Black School In Detroit Shook Up The World Of Lacrosse | Sport - Odisha Expo -

    […] The Skillman Basis, which works with youngsters within the metropolis, named her one in every of 20 Black Detroiters making history, and he or she has been on the board of Teen Hype, a youth-development nonprofit in Detroit, since […]

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