Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – In anticipation of the 28th annual African-American Achievers awards ceremony,JM Family Enterprises, Southeast Toyota Distributors and JM Lexus recently held a private reception to announce the 2020 African-American Achievers. The program was created 28 years ago by JM Family founder Jim Moran to recognize inspiring individuals who give selflessly in order to make a significant difference in the lives of others.
Arts & Culture
Traci Young-Byron – Miami-Dade County – Preeminent Dance Instructor. Young-Byron, born and raised in Liberty City, is a pillar of her community. She heads the Performance and Visual Arts Center at Miami Northwestern High School and is dance coach for the school’s Golden Girls Dance Line. She pushes her students to succeed, requiring a 3.5 grade point average to be a part of the team. Young-Byron has touched thousands of underprivileged young women and men with her contributions to the community. Her passion for the arts shines through her role as Founder and CEO of the Young Contemporary Dance Theatre, with its mission to help enlighten and expand societal views through all areas of dance.
Business & Entrepreneurism
Ken Roland – Broward County – Entrepreneur. His career was launched by a tragedy -- a car accident that landed Roland in the hospital gripping to life. After a stressful 15-hour surgery, Roland recovered and vowed to help his community in a special way. Now CEO of CPR-ETC. Inc., Roland brings CPR training and swim instruction to children across the country. Since his accident, Roland became a certified lifeguard, swimming instructor and created the business model which he now runs with his son Jacob and grandson Judah. He formed Swim Central in Broward County, which has provided swimming lessons to more than 650,000 elementary school children, at no charge. As an innovator in the industry, Mr. Roland is leveraging his remarkable background to create an entirely new approach to safety courses.
Marleine Bastien – Miami-Dade County – Social Worker and Executive Director of Family Action Network Movement (FANM). Bastien was born in Haiti where she volunteered most of her young life. She came to Florida as an adult and days later began volunteering at the Haitian Refugee Center. Bastien has a master's degree in Social Work from Florida International University and spent many years at Jackson Memorial Hospital as a medical social worker with children and families where she became the premiere advocate for patients’ rights. She has championed the cause of women, children and Haitian families through her dedicated advocacy in the areas of immigration and human rights, HIV/AIDS, breast cancer and domestic violence. Through FANM, Bastien helps to provide an array of services such as immigration help, health access, housing, education and more.
Danni Washington – Broward County – Marine Biologist and TV Personality. Washington’s passion for education and for marine biology has given her a unique career path. She broke the mold of a traditional environmentalist, toted as the first African-American to host an American science television series. At age 21, she co-founded the Big Blue & You, which is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to inspiring and educating youth about marine conservation through arts and media. Washington has a love for youth outreach and education demonstrated by her work as a naturalist at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center, where she has helped educate thousands of South Florida children about local marine ecosystems. She sets out to inspire and educate children so they, too, can use their unique set of gifts and follow their passion in life.
“This year’s African-American Achievers are truly making a difference in our community,” said Colin Brown, chairman of the board, JM Family. “From helping to grow arts education to heading up life-saving programs, these are the unsung heroes working hard to improve and change lives. This year’s class of honorees exemplifies the meaning of this award.”
Each year, in recognition of the Achievers and their efforts to improve the quality of life in our community, JM Family and its subsidiaries Southeast Toyota Distributors and JM Lexus make a contribution of $10,000 in each Achiever’s name to the South Florida charity(ies) of his or her choice.
The 2020 honorees were selected by an independent panel of community leaders, including former Achievers from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. The selection committee reviewed more than 250 nominations received from throughout South Florida after an extensive public outreach campaign.
The 28th annual African-American Achievers ceremony will be held on Thursday, April 23, 2020 at 6 p.m. at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. This event is open to the public and will feature live musical entertainment, catered refreshments and an awards presentation.