Dec. 8, 2023 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - An artist, a state lawmaker and a high school coach are among those receiving honors at the 2024 GIANT Awards.
The GIANT Awards recognize members of the African American community for their contributions to shaping the history, culture and quality of life in the Grand Rapids area. Each award is named after someone who has demonstrated excellence and serves as a perpetual memorial to those contributions. Grand Rapids Community College has hosted the awards ceremony since 1983.
“The people being honored have helped build our community,” said Tempy Mann, chairperson of the 41st GIANT Awards. “We are excited to share their stories and celebrate their achievements.”
Award recipients are listed alphabetically:
- Valissa Armstead, senior director of diversity and inclusion at Corewell Health – the Raymond Tardy Community Service Award.
- Debra Bates, owner and administrator for Choice Business Systems Inc. and owner of MeMe’s Foundation Boutique – the Milo Brown Business Award.
- George Bayard III, artist, owner of Bayard Gallery of Fine African American Art & Books, and executive director of the Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives – Ethel Coe Humanities Award.
- Tasha Blackmon, president and CEO of Cherry Health – the Eugene Browning Medical Service Award.
- Jimmy Carter, former head coach for East Kentwood High School’s girls basketball team – Walter Coe Public Service Award.
- Jamie Gordon, executive director of human resources for Kentwood Public Schools – the Phyllis Scott Activist Award.
- Kristian Grant, the first African American woman to represent Grand Rapids in the state House – William Glenn Trailblazer Award.
- The Rev. Charles Hudson III, president and CEO of C.H. Hudson Outreach Ministries – the H.C. Toliver Religious Life Award.
- Latesha Lipscomb, director of engagement and relationships at Amplify GR – Floyd Skinner Justice Award.
- Inez Smith, retired teacher – Hattie Beverly Education Award.
- Bobbie Springer, associate director of Veterans Upward Bound at Grand Valley State University and director of MI GEAR UP – the W.W. Plummer Humanitarian Award.
Recipients of the Junior GIANT Awards and scholarships are Nas Brooks from Grand Rapids University Preparatory Academy and Caebre Baty from Grand Rapids Christian High School. GRCC alumnus Rallah Cobbins, now at Western Michigan University, will receive the Dr. Patricia Pulliam College Leadership Award.
Still to be announced is the GIANT Among Giants. That name will be revealed during the awards ceremony, which starts at 6 p.m. Feb. 3 at the DeVos Place ballroom, 303 Monroe Ave. NW. Sponsorship and ticket information can be found online.