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Black United Fund' Living Legends//Passing the Torch© Celebrates the Year of the Man

Black United Fund of Illinois (BUFI) will celebrate “The Year of the Man” during its 12th Annual Living Legends/Passing the Torch© event on Saturday, September 29th. This year’s event will be held at Blanc Gallery and the Parkway Ballroom.

PRLog - Sep. 4, 2012 - NAPERVILLE, Ill. -- CHICAGO – The Black United Fund of Illinois (BUFI) will celebrate “The Year of the Man” during its 12th Annual Living Legends/Passing the Torch© event set for Saturday, September 29th according to Henry English, president/CEO of the organization.  This year’s honorees come from the fields of media, community activism and labor and collectively span over 50 years of making a difference in our communities. The event will be held at Blanc Gallery and the Parkway Ballroom.

The Living Legends event was conceived by the Black United Fund of Illinois as a way to encourage generational continuity in civil rights, business and the professions while sharing the collective skills, ideas and strategies with a new generation of leaders.  The honorees will essentially “pass the torch” to their chosen successors within their fields.  This year’s program honors outstanding male pioneers who invest time, energy and skills that help ensure a better future by grooming the next generation.  “It is important that we raise the consciousness about the significant value of preparing those who would preserve and transmit the legacies of African Americans to generations,” said Robert Starks, board chair of Black United Fund of Illinois.  “The “Living Legends/Passing the Torch©” literally asks the question “who am I grooming to take my place?”

2012 Living Legends honorees are:

Richard Barnett is an independent political organizer and community activist with nearly 60 years of experience on the West Side of Chicago.  Barnett also served as chief of staff for former 24th Ward Alderman Jesse Miller.

Abe Thompson president and CEO of Partnership Radio, a group of radio stations in Northwest Indiana.  Thompson, a media sales and management executive for more than 30 years, has contributed to the success of media powerhouses in the city including WVON, WGCI and WVAZ.   Starting as a sales person, he rose steadily through the ranks to vice-president and -- general manager.  He moved to Detroit briefly during the 80s to run stations there, returning to Chicago in 1988.  In 2003, Radio Ink ranked Thompson as one of the thirty most influential African Americans in radio.  Thompson began marketing films and international events in 1991, including the 1991 Cancun Jazz festival and the 1995 Sinbad's Soul Music Festival in St. Martin. In addition, he has been a highly successful motivational speaker and author who in 2000 published his first book, My Thoughts, Your Book, Our Journal, for his son, Phoenix.

A special recognition of  the National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 11 will be presented  to Branch President Mack I. Julion.  Branch 11 represents over 4,800 letter carriers and retiree's in the Chicago, Central Illinois and Lakeland Districts of the United States Postal Service (USPS).  The organization’s goals are to unite all letter carriers and non-supervisory employees of the United States postal service; make a consolidated effort to better all working conditions within USPS; promote harmonious relationship between the postal service and the group’s membership, and assist the National Association of Letter Carriers in their efforts on behalf of the entire membership.

Additionally, BUFI will be celebrating the emerging generation of African American leaders who are making a difference in the fields of government, education, business, media and community service. The eight have been dubbed “The Embers” because of the power of the ember to rekindle and spread leadership within the community.  This follows BUFI’s recognition of female leadership in 2011 with the recognition of “The Flames”  

The 2012 Embers are Robert ‘Scoop’ Jackson, sports journalist and ESPN 2 contributor; Dr. Garrard McClendon, Emmy Award winning talk show host; Kendall Moore, host of the Kendall Moore Show on WVON and noted AIDS activist; Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Executive Director of the Schomburg Center for Black Research and Culture in New York; Cliff Rome, award winning chef, entrepreneur and owner of the Parkway Ballroom; Kurt Summers, chief-of-staff to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle; Sharif Walker, regional director After School Matters and Carl West, columnist and founder of TruthBTold News Service.  

Now in its 27th year, the Black United Fund of Illinois, Inc. (BUFI) continues to help hundreds of organizations and thousands of individuals improve their lives in communities throughout Illinois despite these trying, challenging times.  BUFI is dedicated to affecting social and economic change by ensuring that resources are directed to the communities that need them most.  92% of BUFI’s  revenue goes directly to programs and services administered by individuals and community based organizations they work with everyday.  In order to maintain a high degree of success BUFI seeks powerful partners who are also committed to “helping others help themselves.”

Funds raised during the event fund BUFI’s community outreach programs designed to provide educational opportunities, career training and community outreach services within the community.  Programs include:

•   Community Trades Apprenticeship Program (CTAP) - A 26-week apprenticeship program for plumbing and painting;
•   Safe Passages Program - Assists students seeking to avoid gang confrontations;
•   Connects@South Shore, Youth Media Services - a neighborhood-based coalition of organizations and institutions focused on improving the quality of life in South Shore by reducing youth violence.

Additionally BUFI was instrumental in the founding and building of South Shore International College Prep High School. South Shore International College Prep will graduate active, enthusiastic learners who are prepared to succeed in the nation’s top universities.

The evening will begin at 6:00 p.m. with a reception and silent auction at Blanc Gallery.  The awards ceremony will follow at the historic Parkway Ballroom.  NBC 5 Chicago’s Stefan Holt will emcee the event and there will be musical entertainment and a silent auction.  For more information call 773-324-0494, visit our website at www.bufi.org , or email info@bufi.org.

About Black United Fund of Illinois
For more than a quarter century, the Black United Fund of Illinois (BUFI) has worked to bring about social and economic change by ensuring that time, money, ideas, supplies and skills are directed to the communities that need them most.  BUFI is a 501©3 non-profit organization listed in employee payroll deduction programs at both public and private workplaces that allow individuals to contribute to solutions that collectively strengthen organizations dedicated to the enhancement of the quality of life in African American communities and thereby, society at large. www.bufi.org.

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