4 African-American achievers you should get to know -- and how to nominate someone for next year

These Miami-area standouts are worth a nod

Photo: africanamericanachievers.com

This article is sponsored by African-American Achievers.

Jim Moran was a man who believed in giving back and celebrating those who do the same.

Moran, an automotive legend and founder of JM Family Enterprises, Southeast Toyota Distributors and JM Lexus, in 1992 established the African-American Achievers Awards to say thank you to the role models of South Florida.

He wanted to recognize people who:

  • Reach beyond themselves to improve the lives of others
  • Motivate future generations and inspire change
  • Invest their time and talents to build a stronger community 

With this in mind, the community continues to honor outstanding African-Americans who consistently invest their time and talents to help change and improve the lives of others in the categories of arts and culture, business and entrepreneurism, community service and education.

From left: Webber J. Charles, Addonis Parker, Jasmin D. Shirley and James Thomas.

This year's honorees include:

Addonis Parker, arts and culture

Parker has faced many obstacles over the years, but they've only made his faith and pursuit of a higher calling that much stronger.

During his early days, Parker was the epitome of a struggling artist, trying to make ends meet while pursuing his passion. When a chance meeting with a stranger led to his first studio, Parker was inspired to not only create art that engages the senses, but to also use his gift to lift the spirits of others.

He would say his greatest accomplishment ‒- beyond all the bright, colorful and thought-provoking city murals -‒ is his ability to guide young students on their own path of self-expression and discovery through art.

James Thomas, business and entrepreneurism

Thomas has always mirrored the qualities of his role models.

His father instilled in him an unfailing work ethic, his grandmother taught him to always do his very best, and his faith in God inspires him to give of himself for others.

While serving in the U.S. Army, James discovered his true calling: radio. His career has spanned several decades and all facets of the industry. Starting as an on-air personality, he took on growing responsibility as program director for 99 JAMZ and eventually launched his own 24-hour gospel station. Along the way, James has remained committed to sharing his blessings, and many familiar voices on the radio can credit the mentorship they received from him as an integral part of their own successes.

Jasmin D. Shirley, community service

Shirley, a Fort Lauderdale native, comes from a long line of health care professionals, and her sense of caring for others is deeply rooted in her every action.

During the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the early 1980s, Shirley found her purpose and took a stand when no one else would. She advocated for government funding, which now totals $136 million annually, to establish Broward County’s first network of home health providers, outpatient clinics, school prevention programs and hospice agencies for victims of the disease.

Thanks to her diligence, patients in South Florida now have access to the quality care they need and are living longer, more fulfilled lives.

Webber J. Charles, education

Charles challenges the community to embrace one simple, yet powerful vision: a child’s economic status and zip code have no bearing on his or her potential.

Unlike moves in the game of chess, which Webber has coached for years, his path to teaching was not calculated. He now finds himself as director of student achievement for Breakthrough Miami, where he helps students from low-income, under-resourced areas of Miami-Dade County overcome barriers to academic success.

Through a unique bond that blurs the lines between coach, mentor and supporter, Webber shines a light on what makes each child special in a way that brings out the hidden talent within.


If you nominate someone for next year, or any future year, and that person is selected, the organization will make charitable donations on behalf of each of you -- to the charity or charities of your choice. The winner in each category receives up to $10,000 to the charity of his or her choice.


If you have someone in mind, make sure you have the following information before nominating that person: his or her first and last name, email address, phone number, mailing address and a nomination category. Nominees have to be at least 18 years old.

You'll want to know what county your nominee serves -- Miami-Dade, Broward or Palm Beach -- and how this person excels.

A ceremony is set for April 23, 2020. The nomination deadline is Nov. 29, 2019.

The 2020 African-American Achievers will be selected Jan. 9.

Winners will be notified immediately following the judging session.

If you have questions about the nomination process, please email this address.

Get started by clicking or tapping here.