The City of South Bend is pleased to host the 6th Annual Black History Month Awards Ceremony honoring local Black leaders. The event will be held virtually on Zoom Thursday, February 25 at 6 p.m. at this link: https://zoom.us/j/98197459496
The City of South Bend has announced the list of the 2021 Black History Month Awardees, who are being honored for their service and leadership in our community. The recipients are:
Nathan Boyd, took on a new role Jan. of 2020 as Principal of Navarre Middle School, part of South Bend’s Empowerment Zone. As SBCSC’s former Chief Equity Officer and Director of African American Student and Parent Services, Nathan made what he called an easy decision, to return to where he was most needed, with children.
Nathan has been in education for over 20+ years, 18 of which as an administrator in public schools. Nathan is a 2012 ISCA Principal of the Year, 2012 National Blue Ribbon of School Excellence Recipient, and 2016 Indiana State Principal Of The Year. After all those accomplishments, he still measures his success by the success of the children he serves.
Harold Brazier was born and raised on the Southeast side of South Bend in a large, close-knit family. Harold always had a passion for sports and competition as shown by his participation in football, becoming a black belt in karate and later, a professional boxer. Harold achieved much success in the field of professional boxing. He won the Indiana junior welterweight and welterweight titles, the junior welterweight titles for the Northern American Boxing Federation and International Boxing Federation, and welterweight titles for the U.S. Boxing Association and Mid-American. Harold boxed all over the country and also internationally with several matches being featured on ESPN.
As a South Bend native, Harold used boxing as a way to connect to and mentor the youth of his hometown. He has dedicated much of his time participating in charitable events for the community, including Notre Dame’s Bengal Bouts, and mentoring and giving motivational speeches to the youth at the Boys and Girls Club and local schools. Harold’s work within the community did not go unnoticed. In 1994, Harold was inducted to the South Bend Hall of Fame for his achievements and service within the community. Harold was also honored as a 2019 inductee of the Indiana Boxing Hall of Fame.
Harold’s long career in boxing consisted of 105 wins, 18 losses, and 1 draw. Of the 105 wins, 65 were knockouts. After 124 professional boxing matches and 10 titles, the former #1 Ranked Boxer in the World hung up his gloves and looked forward to his retirement and spending time with his family. After retiring from boxing, Harold decided to combine his passion for boxing and helping the people of South Bend and surrounding communities by co-founding with his son, Cory Brazier, a boxing exercise program called BrazierFit Boxing. BrazierFit Boxing is a way for people of all ages to have fun while getting fit. BrazierFit has also been implemented in local schools and youth programs as an alternative way to help teach children about the importance of physical and mental health.
Harold plans to continue serving his community while enjoying life with his wife, children and grandchildren.
Chief Carl R. Buchanon, a lifelong South Bend resident, has been a firefighter for more than three decades. Carl began his career with the South Bend Fire Department in 1986. He was promoted to the rank of Captain in 1991 until he once again was promoted to Battalion Chief in 2007. In 2020 Carl accepted the calling to become Fire Chief in 2020.
During his time with the department, Buchanon has gained specialization in fire prevention programs, training, planning and education workshops, CPR instruction, firefighting principles and practices, organizational management, and attended courses at the TEEX Fire Training School and National Fire Academy.
Buchanon is a graduate of John Adams High School and former Track and Field coach there and at Clay High School for a combined total of nearly 20 years, and has served as a mentor for students in the community.
Buchanon is also a member of the Board of Trustees for the Indiana Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, a member of 100 Black Men of Greater South Bend, Par Putters, Inc., and a former Board member of Leadership South Bend/Mishawaka. He attended Hutchinson Community College and Western Michigan University.
Carl and his wife Cathy have 5 children, Latoya, Gina, Carl II, Nicolas and Jarrod, and 3 grandchildren, LaNya, Adriana and Lilyana.
Latorya Greene is the Director of Community Health & Well-Being and Tobacco Initiatives with Saint Joseph Health System, formerly Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center. She is the Program Supervisor/Policy Coordinator for the lead agency tobacco control coalition Smoke Free St. Joe in St. Joseph County for tobacco education, prevention, and cessation. She received her Bachelor of Science in Health Science, minor Public Health at Ball State University and her Master of Business Administration-Healthcare Management at Indiana Wesleyan University.
Latorya is a champion for public health especially for underserved communities. Latorya has become a local expert in tobacco control issues affecting St. Joseph County Residents. Latorya assisted the South Bend Common Council to pass the comprehensive smoke-free air Ordinance for South Bend, IN (as of date, the strongest comprehensive smoke-free air ordinance in the State of Indiana). Latorya is also a local expert in HIV/AIDS education and prevention with 16+ years of experience.
Latorya has served on a number of advisory boards including the South Bend Community School Corporation School Health Advisory Council, School City of Mishawaka School Health Council, Elkhart and St. Joseph Counties Head Start Consortium Health Advisory Council and is a founding member of the St. Joseph County Health Improvement Alliance. She serves on the boards of the South Bend Chapter of the Indiana Black Expo, Inc., Imani Unidad, Inc. and the South Bend Education Foundation.
She is married and is the proud mother of her beautiful daughter Legacy.
Darryl Heller is the director of the IU South Bend Civil Rights Heritage Center and an assistant professor of Women’s and Gender Studies. After receiving his BA in Philosophy from the College of Charleston in the early 80’s, Darryl spent 20 years working in the fields of human services, community development, and political activism. While living in New York City he earned an MA in American Studies from Columbia University. He also co-founded of the Amistad Institute, a nonprofit organization with the mission to design, develop, and implement educational programs for inner-city communities. Darryl came to the Midwest to pursue additional studies and earned his PhD in History from the University of Chicago.
Since arriving in South Bend in 2015, he has brought his extensive experience as an organizer and activist to the work of the CRHC, transforming it into a vibrant hub of activity in the fight for civil rights and social justice. He also teaches and facilitates discussions on the difficult topics of the history of racism and white supremacy, race construction, and the intersection of race and gender. He currently serves on the board of the Community Forum for Economic Justice and of Imani Unidad, and was recently appointed to the South Bend Board of Public Safety.
Shawn Henderson is a 1998 graduate of South Bend Riley High School. Since his graduation from High School he went on to play College basketball at Ancilla College, where he found great success. After completing a year at Ancilla College, Shawn transferred to Lincoln Trail Community College where he earned his Associates Degree in May of 2000. After playing two years of junior college basketball and earning his associates degree, he continued his academic and athletic career at Maryville College in Maryville TN. Shawn graduated from Maryville College in December of 2002, and returned home to South Bend IN. After arriving home, he began his professional career as a Case Manager at what was formerly known as Madison Center. During that time, he also served as a Volunteer at Heroes Camp.
During this time, Shawn met his beautiful wife and had three amazing children. Shawn began teaching at Washington High School in 2004. Soon after, he enrolled into Indiana University in South Bend and earned his Master’s Degree in Education. Shawn then went on to earn a postgraduate professional educator’s license in school administration from Bethel College. Shawn is currently in his fourth year as Principal of South Bend Riley High School where he graduated from in 1998. Shawn has made a vow to serve the students in his community where he grew up.
Karla is a school leader who knows the power of an equitable education. Her passion and dedication to public education on the Westside of South Bend is visible to parents, students,
and the diverse community. As the Principal of Harrison Elementary School with The Empowerment Zone, she approaches the needs of the community with passion, drive, and compassion. In her 26 years of experience in public education, Karla has held positions in the South Bend School Corporation as a middle school teacher, administrator, and director. She has also taught as an adjunct professor at St. Mary’s College, Indiana University of South Bend, and the TRIO/Upward Bound Program at The University of Notre Dame. Her leadership expertise also includes Curriculum Design, Instructional Coach, Professional Development Facilitator, Adverse Childhood Experiences “ACE’s” Participant and Master Trainer, Teacher and Administrator Evaluation Design Team Member, and Talent Recruiter. As she is completely dedicated to the academic growth and achievement of marginalized students, Karla believes her experience, training, and education will assist her with ensuring the Empowerment Zone community WINS! She will continue to build a strong team and lead with collaborative coaching strategies.
Karla D. Lee was born and raised in South Bend, IN. She has been married to her husband for 30 years. In fact, they were high school sweethearts and both alums of Harrison and Washington High School. They are the proud parents of three adult men who decided to return to South Bend and continue their professional careers. Karla is a second generation graduate of South Bend Washington High School. She obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Education at Bethel College, and continued her education at Indiana University of South Bend where she received her Master’s Degree in Education and K-12 Administration License. She is currently pursuing her Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership and Superintency at Indiana State University. Karla is also a community and school volunteer. She is a current member of the South Bend Alumni Association and South Bend Washington Athletic Booster Club where she served as President. Athletics is a strong part of who she is. She believes in creating competitive athletic opportunities for students to build character, discipline, and self-esteem. She is a life-long fan of the Chicago Bears and University of Michigan football. She is an annual participant/volunteer for the March of Dimes Walk for Children and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Annual Campaign.
Karla also participates in several other volunteer initiatives as a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. South Bend Alumnae Chapter. Karla is relentless in ensuring equitable access to high quality public education and being the voice for all children. She attributes her longevity as a public school educator by leading with her church’s mission statement: “Affect the World One by One.”
Murray Miller is currently the Business Manager, Secretary Treasurer for the Labor International Union of North American Local 645. In this role, he is the representative of the local union; it is his responsibility to ensure that the affairs and business of the local union are being properly conducted.
Murray has dedicated himself to serving and is currently serving the community in the following areas: President of St. Joseph Valley Trades; Indiana Laborers District Council Executive Board; Indiana Laborers District Council; Trustee Indiana Laborers Health and Welfare Fund; and Board of Directors Indiana Black Expo.
He is also a board member South Bend Chapter Indiana Black Expo; member of the City of South Bend Plan Commission; member of the City of South Bend Zoning Board; member of the City of South Bend Inclusive Procurement and Contracting Board; a board member of the St. Joseph County Disaster Relief Foundation Inc.; and a member of the NAACP.
Murray is the former Head Wrestling Coach for Washing High School. His former service also includes the Indiana Wrestling Coaches Association, St. Joseph Valley Athlete Association, Washington High School Booster Club, Executive Board and Board Member of the NAACP.
He is a former instructor for the U.S. Department of Labor Community Outreach Program and Mentor for the South Bend Community School Corporation Mentoring Program. Murray also served as a mediator for Victims Offenders Reconciliation of Elkhart County, former board member of the Community Form; Turning Point; and the Consumer Credit Counsel.
Murray was selected YMCA Man of the Year in 2003 and received the Community Service Drum Major Award in 2000. He is a lifelong resident of South Bend and a member of Greater St. John Missionary Baptist Church.
Dr. Bunmi Okanlami
Bunmi is Nigerian by birth, American by choice. A physician leader who is Board certified in Pediatric Critical Care Medicine and currently serves as Bicentennial Chair of Palliative Care in the Vera Z. Dwyer College of Health Sciences, University of Indiana South Bend.
After obtaining her medical degree, she completed residency training in Pediatrics at Howard University Hospital, Washington DC and specialized in Pediatric Critical Care Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland. She served as medical director of Pediatric Critical Care and Pediatric Emergency Medical Transport Services in South Bend, Indiana for more than 2 decades, developing leadership and program building skills and advancing pediatric critical care services in Northern Indiana. She obtained an Executive MBA from the Mendoza College of the University of Notre Dame, Indiana in 2008.
She is co-founder and past president of A Rosie Place for Children, an innovative non-profit organization serving the needs of medically fragile children and their families in Indiana and Michigan. She is a mother, grandmother and unabashedly Christian. Bunmi enjoys traveling and participates in International medical missions. She lives in Granger, Indiana where she serves on various non-profit boards in her community and continues to serve on teams that teach Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) and Pediatric Fundamentals of Critical Care Support (PFCCS) around the world.
Bunmi retired from the active practice of Pediatric Critical Care in December 2016 but continues to work with others utilizing her experience in training healthcare providers in the recognition and management of critically ill and injured children, to improve the survival of children worldwide, with an emphasis on medically underserved world regions.
In August 2019, she was appointed Bicentennial Chair of Palliative Care and Clinical Assistant Professor of Health Sciences, in the Vera Z. Dwyer College of Health Sciences, University of Indiana South Bend. In this role, Bunmi collaborates with others in clinical and corporate environments, leveraging her program development, business and healthcare experiences to increase awareness around Palliative care in the community and integrating Interprofessional Palliative care education into undergraduate curricula of various healthcare disciplines, as a crucial way to improve quality of life across all ages.
Debra Walker is a South Bend native and graduate of Washington High School; she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Ball State University.
Debra lives by a mission statement of “No greater love than to give yourself in service to others.” She has held true to this and has been employed as Outreach Coordinator/Match Support Specialist at Big Brothers and Big Sisters of St Joseph County for the past 35 years. She has enjoyed recruiting volunteers to serve as one on one positive mentor to a child of single parent homes.
Debra has been very active in community affairs and is affiliated with numerous community service organizations. She has served on the board of directors for the Martin L. King Foundation of St. Joseph County since 1990, the board of directors of the South Bend Heritage Foundation since 2013, the South Bend County Merit Board since 2019 and Oh to be a Delta Girl! She has been a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Alumnae Chapter Since 2000. Debra also has strong faith and is a member of Layman Chapel CME where she serves as Usher Board President and the Helping Hands Ministry.
Debra is married to Earl Walker Jr. and the proud mother of one son Travis and two step sons Dion, and Earl, III, and the grandmother of five.
Cory Brazier – Obama Award for Outstanding Volunteer Contributions in Community Service
Cory Brazier is the co-director of Gentlemen and Scholars Inc., a non-profit co-ed mentorship organization based out of South Bend, Indiana. Cory is also the co-owner of BrazierFit Boxing, a fitness company that was formed by modeling the techniques and fitness regimen of his father, former #1 ranked boxer Harold Brazier. Cory was born and raised in South Bend and has a mindset that is well aware of the current pulse of the community. Married with two kids, Cory’s passions are along the lines of a strong family bond, holistic health and wellness, the finding of one’s effortless purpose and financial empowerment.
Since 2014, Cory has allowed most of his time to be devoted to volunteering and community service as a mentor with Gentlemen and Scholars Inc. He currently teaches kids of all age levels etiquette, life skill concepts and emotional intelligence, along with teaching boxing classes to the families, teachers, and the youth of his community. Cory was instructed and trained by his father in the art of boxing as a young child. Consequently, he is competent in the demonstration of various boxing styles and proficient in their execution to simplify for all skill types.
Over the past 13 years he has gained much of his experience in public speaking by delivering motivational speeches and concerts on various stages such as in churches, prisons, in parades, theme parks, clubs, recreation centers, spelling bees, and juvenile centers to the youth as a performing artist, mentor, and health coach. Understanding the importance of self education, purposeful reading, prayer and mindful mediation are his main obsessions. By applying all the principles of what so many books have taught him, (about people, relationships, business, money, a spiritual life, and health) Cory has accepted the challenge and set out to assist his youth and adult students in accomplishing their physical and intellectual goals. His commitment to daily preparation, smart work, practice, and patience has enabled him to successfully mentor teenagers in building their self-esteem and leadership skills, while even counseling his fellow peers in the ways of holistic well-being. Being well versed in nutritional concepts, Cory serves his community as a health coach, motivator, mentor, events promoter, organizer, partner, husband, father, and son.
Years before devoting his time to build a business with his dad and volunteering in mentorship programs, in 2007, Cory used his experience in public speaking as a gospel rap artist to launch an anti-bully campaign by partnering with the music group Camp Salvation (which included DJ Shane Williams and EM3 Productions).
Tyler Rouse – Leaders Under Forty Award
Tyler D. Rouse is a South Bend native, growing up on South Bend’s North West side. He graduated from Clay high school in 2009 and continued on to Anderson University, where he studied criminal justice and communication. During this time, He also learned to coach youth sports as a student coach for Anderson’s football team.
After a brief stint of employment in the criminal justices field, he saw first hand how a lack of education and access contributes to higher rates of incarceration. Since then, It has been his mission to interrupt the school to prison pipeline through community involvement and mentorship. This interest ignited his passion to learn and live the concepts of restorative justice.
Tyler is currently a part of the South Bend Empowerment Zone as a PeaceBuilder. In this role he and his team serve the families and students of the city’s 5 westside schools.
He is also the founder of “The Village”, a local youth mentoring group that focuses on building strong skills and support for young boys of the community.
Tyler served as the precinct vice-chair for the 2nd district for several years, and is involved with Indiana Young Democrats. He is a husband, father of 3, a business owner and a mentor to many youth that he comes in contact with throughout the South Bend community.
He follows the legacy of community servant leadership laid by his grandfather and former city council president Rev. Dr. Timothy Rouse.
“I thank God for this opportunity. Also thank my wife and kids for motivating and believing in me. Although there is much work still to be done, I humbly accept this award from Mayor Mueller and my city, with the commitment to continue to push forward to improve the lives of children growing up in South Bend. Thank you!”
Niele Ivey – Special Tribute
Niele Ivey became just the fourth Karen & Kevin Keyes Family Head Women’s Basketball Coach on April 22, 2020, and the first black female head coach in the history of Notre Dame. Ivey has been the common link to all nine of the program’s Final Four appearances (two as a player and seven as an assistant coach), spending a combined 17 years on Notre Dame’s campus before accepting the head coaching position.
The Irish went 386-55 (.875) during Ivey’s time patrolling the sidelines as an assistant. In fact, Notre Dame’s recent decade of dominance (2010-19) had Ivey’s handprints all over it – no other program had produced more trips to the national title game (six), while the Irish also posted the third-most wins in that span as well (339).
That decade also consisted of 14 conference championships (eight regular-season plus six tournament titles split between the BIG EAST and ACC), seven Final Fours and a 2018 national championship. Not to mention, Ivey helped develop the likes of All-Americans Skylar Diggins, Jewell Loyd, Lindsay Allen and Arike Ogunbowale.
Ivey expanded her basketball prowess when she stepped away from Notre Dame to accept an assistant coaching position with the Memphis Grizzlies for the 2019-20 season. Ivey proved to be a true trailblazer, becoming the ninth active female coach in the NBA. Ivey helped develop a young team, with a new coaching staff, into a playoff contender, while working with the likes of Ja Morant and Jarien Jackson.
As a player, Ivey donned the Irish uniform from 1996-01, leading the program to its first national title in her hometown of St. Louis in 2001. In fact, she was the first Irish point guard to earn All-America honors. After graduating, Ivey went on to play five seasons in the WNBA, beginning with her selection by the Indiana Fever, and later joined the Irish staff in 2007. Then the rest was history.