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Local Community and Business Leaders Honored during 24th Annual African-American Achievers Awards

JM Family Presents Miramar High School Senior with Scholarship to Florida State University

Five remarkable individuals were recognized during the 24th annual African-American Achievers awards ceremony, which was held on Wednesday, April 20 at the Broward County Convention Center. More than 1,000 guests attended the event, sponsored by JM Family Enterprises, Southeast Toyota Distributors and JM Lexus.

Recognized for their contributions to the South Florida community, the 2016 African-American Achievers are: Dixie Lee Hedrington-Miller, Arts & Culture Honoree; Jaret L. Davis, Business & Entrepreneurism Honoree; Gilbert Lancelot Raiford, Ph.D., Community Service Honoree and Ricky Wiggins, Education Honoree.

“Jim Moran created this platform 24 years ago to celebrate ordinary people who were doing extraordinary things in the community,” said Colin Brown, president and CEO of JM Family. “This simple concept was important to him and is the driving force behind our culture at JM Family, which is why we are so pleased to continue this effort.”

Miramar High School’s Raeanna Murray was the recipient of the 2016 Jerome Edmund Gray Youth Achiever Award, which includes a four-year, needs-based scholarship to Florida State University. The Youth Achiever award, named in memory of 1995 African-American Achiever Jerome Edmund Gray, Esq., recognizes a South Florida high school senior who qualifies for financial aid and has applied and received admission to FSU. 

As the youngest of seven children, Murray, who was born and raised in Miramar, Fla., understood from an early age that it takes hard work to achieve your goals. Watching her single-mother struggle to support the family gave her the motivation to pursue her dreams of someday becoming a doctor. Currently enrolled in the International Baccalaureate Program at Miramar High School, Murray maintains a 4.6 GPA while serving as the senior class treasurer, volunteering and participating in school clubs. She views college as an opportunity to take the first steps toward her future while immersing herself in the study of psychology and human behavior. As a first-generation college student, Murray looks forward to her time at FSU and turning her passion into a profession as a clinical psychologist.

“Ten years ago, if someone had asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my response would have been, ‘Happy’,” Murray said. “The pursuit of happiness is still the chase, but I’ve become someone with bigger dreams, and I want to become a psychologist.”

African-American Achievers was hosted by Calvin Hughes, Emmy Award-winning evening newscaster for WPLG Local 10, and featured musical performances by Craig Walden & Company and Dillard High School saxophonist Victor Spuck. The moving invocation was delivered by Rev. Dr. Rosalind Osgood, 2009 Community Service Honoree.

Every year, JM Family, Southeast Toyota and JM Lexus donate $40,000 – $10,000 per category – in each adult honoree’s name to the charity(ies) of his or her choice. The companies also donate $500 to the charity(ies) of choice of those whose nominee was selected as an African-American Achiever. Including the contributions to be made this year, nearly $450,000 has been awarded to local organizations on behalf of African-American Achievers since the program was created in 1992.

Organizations chosen by the honorees to receive donations include Friends & Stars, Inc., I Have A Dream Foundation, International Therapeutic Progressive Pinochle Association, Hampton University, Power of Moves Miami, Progressive Union Baptist Church and South Florida Educational Development Center, Inc.

An independent panel of community leaders from throughout the tri-county area, including past award honorees, selected this year’s African-American Achievers.  Panelists include: Barrington Irving (2015 Education Honoree), Wilhelmena Mack (1998 Business Honoree), Mia Merritt, Ed.D. (2011 Education Honoree), Angela Perry (Cox Media Group) and Tarra Pressey (2007 Business & Entrepreneurism Honoree).
To learn more, visit www.africanamericanachievers.com or like us on Facebook.

About JM Family Enterprises, Inc.

JM Family Enterprises, Inc., founded by Jim Moran in 1968, is a $14.9 billion automotive company ranked No. 20 on Forbes’ list of “America’s Largest Private Companies.” It is also ranked No. 55 by FORTUNE® as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For®, its 19th consecutive year on the list. JM Family has more than 4,200 associates and its primary subsidiaries include: Southeast Toyota Distributors, the world’s largest independent distributor of Toyota; JM&A Group, one of the leading independent providers of finance and insurance (F&I) products in the automotive industry; World Omni Financial Corp., a diversified financial services company; and JM Lexus, the largest volume Lexus dealership in the world. Headquartered in Deerfield Beach, Fla., JM Family has major U.S. operations in Jacksonville and Margate, Fla.; Commerce and Alpharetta, Ga.; Mobile, Ala.; and St. Louis, Mo. Interact with JM Family at Facebook.com/JMFamilyEnterprises.