Black Diamond winners are cut out for service


The Youngstown Chapter of The Links Inc. honored winners of the Black Diamond awards in October at The Georgetown in Boardman. Top honorees, from left, were Allan Irizarry-Graves, Rough Diamond; Corbin Michael Croom, Diamond Chip; and William Blake, Polished Diamond. There were 27 nominees.


SPECIAL TO THE VINDICATOR The Links Inc. sponsored a recent event to honor black males in the Mahoning Valley. Members of the planning committee for the Black Diamond Celebration are, seated from left, Dr. Joan Boyd, Sarah Brown-Clark, Anne Cobbin, Juanita Davis, Marge Staples, Janice Beachum, Krishmu Shipmon and Margaret Person. Standing are Willard Boyd, Maurice Cousin, James Cobbin, Wanda Smith, Charlie Staples, Lock P. Beachum Sr., Lenora Hill and Dr. Don Person. Other committee members are Dr. Virginia Banks-Bright, professor Al Bright, Dr. Rodney Hill, Juanita Williams, Alnita Bryant-Russell, Sandra Thompkins, Brenda Martin, Monica Hoskin-Vann and Gary Vann. The women are Links members, and the men are called Connecting Links.

Staff report


The Black Diamond Cele- bration, a mid-October event at The Georgetown, honored 27 of the Valley’s black males for their accomplishments and contributions to the community, churches, organizations and schools.

The Youngstown Chapter of The Links Inc. sponsored the awards. The Rev. Dr. Morris W. Lee, pastor of Third Baptist Church, was the master of ceremonies, and the Rev. Kenneth L. Simon, pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church, sang and provided the benediction. The Dave Taylor Band entertained. Those in each of the following categories received certificates of honor:

Diamond Chips: (age 10 to 17) Corbin Michael Croom received the top honor. Christian Armour, Jordan Armour, Emanuel Armour, James Copeland, James Melvin Gilmer Jr. and Jordan Rawl.

Rough Diamonds: (age 18 to 39) Allan Irizarry-Graves received the top honor. Darryl Anderson, Mark C. Callion, Dr. Derrick O. Jackson, Demain Kitchen and Dr. Kene I. Ugokwe.

Polished Diamonds: (age 40 and above) William Blake was named top honoree. The Rev. Byron L. Armour, the Rev. Lock P. Beachum Jr., Thomas Conley, Samuel Lee Cooper, Judge Robert Douglas Jr., Alfred Hart, Detective Sgt. David A. Lomax, the Rev. Dr. Lewis Macklin, William Ronald Miller, Kenneth Moore, Charles Rounsaville, George Lee Smith Jr. and Dr. Burrell Tate.

The men were nominated by friends, family members, employers, peers, pastors, teachers and organizations. The nominators were asked to complete in-depth profiles listing accomplishments, community service and core values promoting love, respect, community harmony and being a law-abiding citizen. Each profile was scored by a cross-section of the community.

Each top honoree in the three categories received checks for $200.

Croom, 17, was nominated by Jacquetta Peoples and Katherine Bair of the Boys & Girls Club. He is an honor student at Chaney High School, a mentor and role model for his peers.

Croom is the first black male to receive the Boys & Girls Club of America student of the month award. In August, he was involved in the Operation Keepsake Program and composed a rap song to be used for the statewide marketing campaign.

Croom uses his musical and writing talents to express his desire to improve his community.

Irizarry-Graves, 22, earned associate and bachelor’s degrees and is a volunteer for Meridian Community Care. Cossell Burton nominated Irizarry-Graves, who works for Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative Youngstown as a faith-based community organizer. He was the recipient of the 2012 Thomas and Beatrice Young Education Award, a speaker at the Coalition for Christian Outreach’s Annual Fundraising Gala and a Youngstown State Presidential Mentor.

Blake was nominated by Joan Boyd, Ph.D. As director of the student diversity programs at Youngstown State University, he is known for his organizational skills and ability to implement campus programs: Martin Luther King Jr. Diversity Breakfast, The University Diversity Banquet, Cinco de Mayo Breakfast, the YSU Black Faculty & Staff Association, annual picnic for new students and faculty and a coalition network of community leaders.

He wants to improve community service and assist students from all racial and ethnic backgrounds.

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