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GIANT Awards returns after two-year hiatus, commemorating contributions of Grand Rapids leaders, organizations

July 11, 2022, GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. —The 39th Annual GIANT Awards and Banquet is returning after a two-year hiatus, commemorating the stellar contributions of Grand Rapids leaders and organizations.

“We had to be patient and resilient during the hiatus,” said Dr. B. Afeni McNeely Cobham, Grand Rapids Community College’s chief equity and inclusion officer. “It is an absolute honor for the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to rejuvenate this important tradition.”

GRCC, since 1983 has hosted the awards recognizing exceptional leaders who shape the history, quality of life, and culture of the Grand Rapids community. Each award is named after a historical local “giant” whose dedicated service, advocacy, and activism are memorialized through honorees.

The event is planned for Oct. 1, 2022, at the JW Marriott Grand Rapids. Limited ticket and sponsorship packages can only be purchased online via Eventbrite starting Aug. 12, 2022.

Proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test is required to attend.

Honorees for 2022 are:

  • Floyd Skinner Justice Award: Adam C. Sturdivant, partner, Drew Cooper & Anding.
  • Walter Coe Public Service Award: Shellie Cole-Mickens, founder and executive director, Our House of Blessings.
  • W.W. Plummer Humanitarian Award: Nikeidra Battle-DeBarge, CEO and co-founder, New Destiny Pathways, Inc.
  • Ethel Coe Humanities Award: Henry Sapp, CEO, Better, Wiser, Stronger Inc.
  • Milo Brown Business Award: Daryl D. Reece, owner, Stock Da Bar & Stock Da Bar Vodka.
  • Phyllis Scott Activist Award: Grand C.I.T.Y. Sports, Inc., Chris Sain, Jr., co-founder and CEO, and Preston Sain, co-founder and executive director.
  • Raymond Tardy Community Service Award: Raynard Ross, president, Grand Rapids Public Schools Board of Education, and associate dean of student success at GRCC.
  • H.C. Toliver Religious Life Award: Julian S. Newman, CEO and founder, The FutureCast Foundation.
  • Hattie Beverly Education Award: Lorenzo Bradshaw, principal, Brookwood Elementary
  • Martha Reynolds Labor Award: Kevin L. Clemens, president, Kent County Court’s union, an affiliate of the Technical, Professional, and Office Workers Association of Michigan.
  • William Glenn Trailblazer Award: Jermale Eddie, co-owner and CEO, Malamiah Juice Bar & Malamazing Juice Co.

The nomination process remains open for Junior GIANT scholarship awards. Visit the ODEI website to apply online by Aug. 26, 2022.

Each year, the GIANT Awards selection committee undertakes the task of selecting honorees based on the merit of their nomination and stellar achievements. Committee members are: Larry Johnson, Tempy Mann, Darius Quinn, Faye Richardson-Green, and Shannon Wilson.

ODEI Assistant Director Erin Mieskowski is the event’s chairperson.

Grand Rapids Community College has offered educational opportunities in West Michigan for more than 100 years. Established in 1914, the college offers degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops, and personal enrichment classes. Offerings are held on GRCC’s downtown Grand Rapids campus and at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties, as well as through distance learning.

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