VIZAZI AWARD

HONOREES

MEET OUR 2020 VIZAZI HONOREES

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SPARK
Marcel Hughes

Caracole Medical Care Coordinator

Marcel Hughes demonstrates an active commitment to the LGBTQ community.  He is passionate about advocacy for the black, trans, queer alliance. At Caracole, he provides intensive case management and education for HIV+ individuals as well as facilitating an advocacy group to improve outreach and engagement to positively impact health disparities in our local community. Marcel works holistically with clients to improve access to medications, medical care, and additional support systems, successfully engaging providers to remove barriers and challenges in order to improve the lives and health of his clients. He was recently featured in Cincinnati Magazine’s first-ever Pride issue in the article, "Meet 20 Local LGBTQ Leaders Who Are Shaping Cincinnati." Marcel is also a part of Black Bear Brotherhood-Cincinnati and This Place of Men Book Club, a Cincinnati-based literary club for Black Gay Men.

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SPARK

Melan White

Student, Ashland University and Americorps leader

Melan White is a Mathematics and Creative Writing student at Ashland University. Whether it is representing students of color through her position in Black Student Alliance or supporting her LGBTQ community in Eagles for Pride, she brings an intense desire for equity and inclusion. Melan White received Ashland University’s Diversity Enhancement Award for the 2019-2020 school year but says this is just the beginning. She hopes to start the journey into Social Justice work upon finishing her degree program.

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SPARK

Mary Preston

Cincinnati Public Schools gradúate and True Colors (Dater High School) GSA founder

Mary Preston is the founder of True Colors GSA at Dater High School and a Class of 2020 CPS graduate. Mary is known for her energizing leadership and her thoughtful inclusion of those around her. When she isn’t facilitating True Colors, Mary would be facilitating classroom discussions as a peer mentor for BeSpoken. Mary is planning to study education in college.

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SPARK

Ta'von Hall

Community/Prep Health Navigator, Team Lead at Caracole

Tavon Hall demonstrates a commitment to the LGBTQ community.  Specifically. he is passionate about outreach and advocacy for the black, trans, queer alliance. At Caracole, he provides testing, outreach, and education for HIV+ and high-risk HIV- individuals as well as connecting with providers to enhance PrEP knowledge in our local medical systems. Tavon consistently helps clients and his co-workers successfully navigate the systemic barriers and challenges accessing medical care and PrEP. His accomplishments include collaboration with Black Pride, Caracole’s first Red Ribbon Ball, and providing educational PrEP videos via Caracole social media. His personal achievements include a successful clothing line and music career.

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EMBER

Kyle Inskeep

Anchor/Reporter, Local 12, WKRC

Kyle Inskeep joined the Local 12 News team in June 2018. He anchors the 4 p.m., 5:30 p.m., and 10 p.m. newscasts with Paula Toti. Prior to moving to Cincinnati, Kyle worked as a morning reporter/fill-in anchor for FOX59 in Indianapolis for three years. While there he covered the 2017 Presidential Inauguration, the 100th running of the Indy 500, and the sentencing of former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle. During his first year out of college, Kyle worked for NBC News in Washington, D.C. He was selected as the 2012 Tim Russert Fellow. As part of this program, Kyle worked as a researcher for the network’s “political unit,” assisted correspondents and field producers, and worked alongside the Meet The Press digital team. Kyle graduated magna cum laude from Butler University with a degree in Electronic Journalism. He was on campus for both of the historic Final Four runs the Bulldogs made in 2010 and 2011. Born and raised in the Hoosier state, Kyle is thrilled to be living in Cincinnati! He’s looking forward to cheering on the Reds and Bengals. Plus, trying all local brunch hot spots.

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EMBER

Jordan Young

Greater Cincinnati Human Rights Campaign Steering Committee member

Jordan Young moved to Cincinnati in 2015 and began living his true and authentic self after a long and painful struggle of self-acceptance and loss of family ties, but in doing so, he found the community he now calls family.  He became involved in local organizations by serving as one of the 2016 Cincinnati Pride Parade judges, then began volunteering with the Human Rights Campaign of Greater Cincinnati in the summer of 2017. Most of his life he felt as if he were at a crossroads, never really knowing what street he belonged on. Cincinnati showed him that no person has to feel that way. Living as an openly gay Black man was possible. Not only possible to just exist, but possible to thrive. He has had the privilege to chair several events through the city aimed at LGBTQ+ inclusion, including the HRC Color Ball (2019 and 2020), Confessions on the Runway Fashion Show, and others. Serving on a committee that was nationally recognized by HRC as committee/program of the year in 2019 for outreach. Young is affiliated with his employer Paycor’s ERG Prizim and collaborates with other local organizations such as Cincinnati Black Pride and others. 

Through attending Northern Kentucky University in his mid-twenties and building a network in the community he finds it much easier to use his voice as the years have passed. Young’s hope is to be a mentor to LGBT youth in their fight for acceptance of self and others. “The beauty of standing up for your rights is that others see you standing, and they stand up as well." This is the motto he chooses to live by. Says Young, “I know my journey is just beginning, but I am so thankful that this journey began here in Cincinnati and I hope I make her proud!”

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EMBER

Tami Lunan

President, Cincinnati Black Pride

Tami Lunan is a Jamaican-born, Bronx Bred, Midwest Transplant with nearly a decade of experience in, Movement and Community Building, LGBT, and Racial Justice Advocacy. As a Queer Woman of Color, and 1st generation immigrant Tami is passionate about building political power in underserved communities recognizing the various needs at each intersection. Tami was instrumental in the founding and implementation of Hey Girl Hey a discussion fo group with a mission to provide a safe space for QWOC, Trans, & Allies to restore and empower through facilitating dialogue, creating community, & LGBTQ Advocacy. She is the current president of Cincy Black Pride.

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EMBER

David Choate

Founding Artistic Director, Revolution Dance Theatre

David Anthony Choate Jr., born in Charlotte, North Carolina, spent most of his life here in Cincinnati where he attended the School of Creative and Performing Arts. Post SCPA dance training includes time at the Cincinnati Ballet Academy, DeLa Arts Center, and Planet Dance. After a strong recommendation from his long time Modern Dance Instructor,  Cynthia Riesterer, Mr. Choate became a member of Dayton Contemporary Dance Company 2, and later, a touring artist with Bi-Okoto Drum and Dance Theatre.  It didn't take long into his career to notice the huge absence of black and brown people in the space of professional dance, particularly ballet. Driven by a passion to change the climate of dance, Mr. Choate decided his talents were best suited not solely as a performer but as the Founding Artistic Director of Revolution Dance Theatre, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building cultural diversity in dance and leveling the playing field for minority dance students. Today Mr. Choate's work has become a staple at Cincinnati's Aronoff Center for the Arts, taped for the nationally syndicated show "Iyanla Fix My Life”, has graced venues such as Cincinnati's Music Hall and the Duke Energy Convention Center as well as travel to other cities including Chicago and New York. He is an active member of the International Association of Theatrical Stagehands for which he has been on the local crew for such entertainers as the Foo Fighters, Imagine Dragons, Michael Buble, and Cirque de Soleil. He has been invited to become a member of Cincinnati Ballet's Young Professionals Program and Advisor to the School of Creative & Performing Arts Alumni Panel.

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FLAME

Julie Johnson

Educator, Community Leader & Owner, Designs by Julia

Sergeant Johnson worked as the Neighborhood Unit Supervisor in District Four from April of 2002 until the Department-wide redeployment of the Neighborhood Officers back onto the shifts in February of 2006. This Unit worked closely with residents, community leaders, and business owners to maintain and improve “Quality of Life” issues. In this position, Sergeant Johnson worked to foster relationships between residents, community and business leaders, and the police officers who served those communities in District Four. Julie is also a former school teacher with Cincinnati Public Schools as well as an Adjunct Instructor having taught a number of topics including “Accepting Cultural Differences, and Domestic Violence at the Department’s Police Academy and Great Oaks Police Academy. Julie and several other officers were instrumental in the Cincinnati Police Department's participation in the 2013 Pride Parade, allowing officers to walk in the parade in uniform. Julie has worked as a committee member for the Human Rights Campaign and on The Human Rights Gala here in Cincinnati. Julie and her wife Julia P. Wesselkamper, who served as a Board Member for the Playhouse in the Park, were part of the committee that brought Playhouse Pride to Cincinnati in 2016. Julie is a native of Cincinnati and attended the University of Cincinnati for both her undergraduate and graduate work. She and Julia, who is one of the region’s top realtors for Coldwell Banker West Shell, have a 22-year-old son Chad, who recently graduated from Rice University in Houston, Texas, and will be attending the Manhattan School of Music. Julie is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and an avid sports lover. Julie and Julia also have three loveable doggies, two French Bulldogs, and an Akita.

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FLAME

Philip D. Stowers

Advisory Board Member, Cincinnati Black Pride, and Board of Equitas Health- Cincinnati, PAR-Projects, and Teach For America-Prism

Philip D. Stowers is a native of Covington, Kentucky. Previously, Philip has lived in Louisville, Kentucky, and Dayton Ohio. With a great interest in community service instilled in him by his family, Philip has volunteered or served on boards in every place he has lived. After watching the Marlon Riggs documentary ‘Tongues Untied,” Philip had a dream of walking in a pride parade with a group of African American LGBTQIA people. In 2018, he was able to realize this dream by walking in the Cincinnati Pride Parade with the Cincinnati Black Pride contingent. Philp is a volunteer docent at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Memorial House and the steering committee for Cincinnati Black Pride. He serves on the Board of directors, Equitas Health, Par Projects, and Southwest Ohio Prism Board. Philip is a graduate of Centre College where he earned a B. A..in Economics and Management as well as earning a Master’s Degree in Management from The McGregor School at Antioch University.

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FLAME

Joanne “Jo” Johnson

Retired Air Force Veteran & Event Promoter

Joanne "Jo" Johnson, is a United States Air Force Veteran who was born in Cincinnati in 1950 and a graduate of Taft High School, after which she worked as a long-distance operator for Cincinnati Bell for five years. Feeling pressure to fulfill her parent's wishes, she married in 1967 and raised a daughter born in 1968 beyond their divorce almost a decade later. She describes her ex-husband as a good guy who was a great co-parent to their daughter Jill. Jo graduated in 1971 with a Practical Nursing degree at what is now known as Cincinnati State. After passing her state boards, she worked at Cincinnati General and particularly loved her work with the seniors and the babies. Despite objection from her dad, who didn't want her to go into the military to join "those bulldaggers." Jo came out in 1975, realizing that she had to live her life authentically. In 1977 Jo went on to join the Air Force anyway, where she enjoyed a career of 19 years. Jo got involved as Business Manager with an annual Cincinnati-based event called Christmas in July in conjunction with Johnnie Brooks who was President of the group and Anita Johnson, the assistant Business Manager. At its peak, hundreds of people came to Cincinnati, from across the Midwest and cities like Chicago, Indianapolis, Detroit, and even New Orleans, and Miami. It was not uncommon to fill a Cincinnati ballroom with 300 people. Though principally organized by Black lesbians, gay men were always welcome at events. At 70 years of age, Jo continues to organize and be a pioneer in Cincinnati and Black LGBTQ+ folx are much indebted to her leadership and efforts spanning 40 years. Jo has been married to her wife, Natalie Johnson since 2010 and they live in Golf Manor.

2019 HONOREES

SPARKS:

Ariel Mary Ann

KeShawn Townsend

EMBERS:

Jennifer Ingram

Kimisha Maull (DJ Kaotic) 

Meredith Shockley-Smith

Rev. Derek Terry

Tim'm West

FLAMES:

Ron Clemons

Pastor Lesley Jones 

Steve Milloy

Tracy Walker

Kathy Y. Wilson

CONTACT US

Cincy Black Pride

P.O. Box 24072  /  Cincinnati, OH 45224  /  (513) 818-9596  /  cincyblackpride@gmail.com

Copyright © 2020 Cincinnati Black Pride, Inc.