Historymaking 2023 Annual Villager Awards Gala

May 27, 2023 @ 10:00AM — 3:00PM Pacific Time (US & Canada) Add to Calendar

Hilton Hotel Long Beach, Gallerie Ballroom : 701 W Ocean Blvd Long Beach, CA 90831 Get Directions

Historymaking 2023 Annual Villager Awards Gala  image

Join Us At This Very Special Villager Awards- Lifting Others As we Climb

The Villager Awards has been hosted annually since 2013. Each year we spotlight African-Americans and other persons of acknowledged Black African ancestry from throughout the African continent, the USA and the entire African Diaspora. Each award recipient brings the audience into the back story of their lives through their lens. Each story brings our collective histories into full view! Each award recipient and group is an exemplar of our mantra “Lift as we Climb!”

This year’s event features a recognition of previous award recipients in attendance, and introductions to the story and times of our 2023 award recipients.

2023 Veterans History Recognition

L.E. Michael Johnson, U.S. Marine Corps Retired:


Msgt. Elizabeth Helm-Frazier, US Army Retired:

This year we have special recognitions for the Historic Montford Point Marines and the 6888th US Army Postal Battalion. Villager Award Recipients L.E.Michael Johnson, US Marine Corps Retired, Western Region Vice-President, National Montford Point Marines Association; and Msgt Elizabeth Helm-Frazier , US Army Retired, Staff Assistant, US Office of Information Security, Washington D.C., and Member Board of Directors, Army Women’s Foundation have made it their life’s work to bring these legacies forward. They will introduce you to Montford Point Marine Veterans and to 6888th US Army Postal Battalion Veterans respectively. Special cameo appearances by original Montford Point Marines and by members of the 6888th. US Army Postal Battalion representatives.

2023 Diaspora Connections Award:

Marva Griffiths Herman, Founder, CARIBBEAN HERITAGE ORGANIZATION, Founder- Caribbean Lens International Film Festival; and Founder/Publisher Carribbean Heritage Magazine. Member Legal Department, Walt Disney Company. Marva is described by those who know her as a dynamic visionary leader who brings people together with a keen sense of purpose and determination to succeed. http://comingsoon.caribbeanheritagemag.com/

2023 Villager Legacy Award:

Gerald Freeny is the recipient of the 2023 Villager Legacy Award. His life is filled with impactful exemplars of “Lifting as we Climb” which he traces all the way back to lessons learned as a child from his grandmother. While he is well-known for his successful career in law enforcement, he rose to international recognition when he became the first Black President of the iconic Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association in 2018. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of that association. His journey-to-now is compelling and inspiring - filled with challenges that would have hindered many people from moving forward. His journey has also been filled with opportunities unrecognized by many people. His volunteerism and community service is history-making. His journey spanning decades is his “back story.” …And his “back story” is a legacy trail that inspires many people.

2023 Youth Villager Award

Nathaniel Atsekpetei, AframGlobal Organization Inc/Becky’s Foundation inaugural Journalism and Communications Intern, Senya Beraku, Ghana, West Africa. Nathaniel is a young man blessed with a determination to succeed against all odds. His compelling life story is inspiring and motivating. His mantra is “Even When There Is No Money, I Will Continue to Learn!” Nathaniel is preparing now to study Journalism and Communications at the college level. This talented and self-directed young man is a source of motivation to young people in his home, and now around the world as his story is shared. Seth Asiedu, Director Becky’s Foundation (a 2017 Villager Award Recipient), has served as the primary mentor to Nathaniel during this internship. However, others in the Senya Community also continues to sources of encouragement and mentorship.

- Featuring MC Bobby McDonald, Executive Director Orange County Black Chamberhttp://bos.ocgov.com/legacy3/newsletters/pdf/BobbyMcbio2012logo.pdf

- Featuring Saxophonist- Howard Hardaway, CSULB Alumni https://youtu.be/FHhSZ_0sBys

- Introducing Actress Milauna Jackson, from Tyler Perry Movie “The Six Triple Eight!”


- Introducing Singer/Song Writer, Bobbie Lee Anderson https://ktftstudios.com/bobbie-lee-anderson-1

- Featuring Exhibit by Internationally Acclaimed “Forgotten Images Museum” https://forgottenimages.org/

- Official Villager Awards Photographer Gregory Worsham Photography https://www.gworshamphotography.me/

- Art Support/ On-site Logistics- Christopher Willingham - ArtofCip https://www.facebook.com/artofcip/

- On-site Event Management - Alexis Newton

- On-Site Hospitality Management - Valerie Thomas

- Villager Interns: Sophie Mbadugh, Jayson Johnson, Roderick Reid

Your support of this Annual Villager Awards Gala Event empowers us to continue to move forward in fulfilling our mission:To create environments in which persons from diverse circumstances and experiences can come together and co-learn with each other in a way that bridges the opportunity gaps, retains the respective cultures, and ultimately benefits society.” (VillageProjects.net). Gloria J. Willingham-Toure PhD, CEO AframGlobal Organization Inc, Founder- Village Projects Initiatives and Annual Villager Awards

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