Celebrating Black History Month
By make it better
The Trail Blazers will pay tribute to some of Portland’s African American leaders throughout February.
Trail Blazers president Larry Miller will participate in the “Get in the Game” Barbershop Initiative. The event, created by former honoree Karanja Crews, promotes reading and educating youth about African American history. Miller will also be honored by SEI at its Black History Makers event on February 27.
Additionally, the organization will honor prominent local African Americans at games throughout the month of February. The first three honorees are:
Portland resident Carl Diez served as a second lieutenant at the Tuskegee Army Air Field in the 1940s. One of the few Airmen remaining, Diez experienced life on a segregated base during his time in Alabama, but remained focused and received his private pilot’s license.
As the senior pastor at Highland Christian Center, Reverend Dr. W. G. Hardy Jr. has worked through Highland Haven to support distressed communities in north Portland. In 2004, Reverend Hardy received the NAACP Man of the Year award for his work in the Portland area.
Preston Salami is an active and engaged mentor at St. Mary’s Home for Boys. Preston, who is an Assistant Vice President for Wells Fargo at Raleigh Hills, has helped his mentee Paul overcome and face challenges that have negatively affected both his life and his future.
The Portland Trail Blazers’ DJ, David “OG One” Jackson, contributes to the Portland community by using his own childhood experiences to reach out to the area’s youth. He works to improve their lives and point these children in the right direction with his nonprofit mentoring organization, Role Models Applying Positive Peer Pressure (RAPP). DJ OG One mentors high school students and engages in motivational speaking opportunities to help troubled youth redirect their paths.
Charlene Williams is the Principal at Roosevelt High School. As the school’s administrator, she has led one of Oregon’s poorest high schools to new heights, increasing their graduation rate to 85% last year—up 72% from the previous year. Williams also helped Roosevelt to receive $7.7 million in federal grants. This “turnaround money” will be used for students over the course of the next three years.
Portland resident Trisa Kelly holds two titles: Reverend, and chaplain of the Oregon National Guard. Revered Kelly joined the Oregon National Guard in 2002 and became the first female chaplain within her first year of service. While still serving with the National Guard, she is also an associate pastor at Maranatha Church in Portland as well as a Medicaid Eligibility Specialist for Multnomah County.
Jeremiah Moses, a senior at Open Meadow High School, works to solve issues such as homelessness, drug abuse and human trafficking through the Global Citizen Corps project team. Jeremiah also served as a youth leader through the Student Alliance Project, where he learned to be a leader in the community and received an award for his commitments. The Skanner Foundation recently awarded Jeremiah with a college scholarship to help him reach his goals on a national level.