PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – This year's African-American Achievers are being recognized during an awards banquet Wednesday night.
Dixie Lee Hedrington-Miller, Jaret L. Davis, Dr. Gilbert Lancelot Raiford and Ricky Wiggins were selected by an independent panel of community leaders, including former Achievers, from more than 250 candidates throughout Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.
Each honoree represents a different category -- arts and culture, business and entrepreneurism, community service and education.
Hedrington-Miller is the founder of Friends & Stars Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to enhancing the well-being of South Florida's special needs children and adults through the arts. By providing individualized attention in an environment of acceptance, Hedrington-Miller and her team help students discover their artistic expression. She also works with museums and public spaces to display her students' work.
Davis is co-managing shareholder at Greenberg Traurig in Miami. Throughout his career, Davis has helped build Miami's tech ecosystem, including co-founding the eMerge Americas Technology Conference and bringing together leaders in the industry. He volunteers as a mentor in the startup community, particularly focusing on African-American-owned companies. Davis is also an advisor to investors and venture capitalists.
Raiford has dedicated much of his life to the advancement of others, including nearly 40 years teaching university students. His outreach includes helping the homeless, uniting families, counseling students and assisting the elderly. It was his experience tutoring children in Liberty City, where he discovered that none of them had been on a plane, eaten at a restaurant or left the country, that inspired him to raise the money to take 25 children on a weeklong trip to Washington, D.C.
Last but not least, Wiggins mentors young people through the I Have a Dream Foundation. He has encouraged, inspired and pushed a generation of young people to stay in school and pursue higher education. He has often served as a father figure to children who lack a positive role model in their lives.
Established in 1992 by auto magnate Jim Moran, founder of JM Family Enterprises, the African-American Achievers awards program annually recognizes leaders for their exceptional contributions toward building stronger communities in South Florida.
JM Family, Southeast Toyota and JM Lexus will donate $10,000 in each achiever's name to the South Florida charity or charities of the winner's choice. The companies will also donate $500 to the charity or charities of the honorees' choice.
The awards presentation and ceremony will be held Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Broward County Convention Center.