The City of Aurora's African-American Heritage Advisory Board (AAHAB) will host its 15th Annual Heritage Dinner on Friday, February 22, 2019 at Gaslite Manor, 2485 Church Road. Social hour begins at 6 p.m. and dinner begins at 7 p.m.
The crowning event of Black History Month, this annual celebration will present scholarships to achieving high school seniors, recognize community members for their contributions to Aurora and fete AAHAB's 2019 African-American Leader of the Year, Aurora Police Officer Skyy Calice.
Calice is a Community Oriented Policing Officer with the Aurora Police Department. Her interactions with students, educators and community members inspired her to establish the Girls Run the World mentoring program. Helping to guide young ladies at East Aurora, Metea Valley and West Aurora High Schools, the mentoring program develops leadership among the young women at each high school and gives them a safe place to discuss any issues they’re dealing with at home or at school. In 2018, Calice launched the Girls Run the World 5K Fundraiser, was presented the Chicago Wolves Hometown Hero Award, was named a 'Face of 2018' by the Aurora Beacon News and earned Mayor Richard Irvin’s Mayoral Commendation for Service.
“Officer Calice stepped in to fill a gap in our community and, in a relatively short amount of time, she has made a tremendous impact,” said Mayor Richard C. Irvin. “Skyy gives our young women an accessible positive role model while empowering them to shatter glass ceilings and change the narrative. She goes above and beyond her noble call of duty to serve and protect Aurora.”
Calice will be the youngest recipient to ever receive the Outstanding African-American Leader of the Year award. Previous award recipients are Tom Boatright, Keith Brown, Henry Cowherd, Donnell Collins, Keith Cross, Dr. Darrell Echols, Scheketa Hart-Burns, Sherman Jenkins, Cynthia Latimer, Clayton Muhammad, Archie Needham, Lillian Perry and Anthony Stanford.
Mayor Irvin will also present the 2019 Mayor’s AAHAB Lifetime Achievement Award to Larry Shepard for his decades of work as an educator in West Aurora Schools and as a community advocate. The Mayor’s AAHAB Lifetime Achievement Award is presented annually to a longtime African-American leader in the community who has committed their life to service and have paved the way for others to do the same. The 2018 recipient was educator Avis Patterson-Miller.
During the ceremony, Aurora high school students will receive the Henry Cowherd Scholarship named in honor of longtime community leader and 2008 African-American Leader of the Year, the late Mr. Henry Cowherd.
Tickets are $60, with a portion going to the Henry Cowherd Scholarship Fund. Individual tickets can be purchased at www.aurora-il.org/aahab. Tables of 10, special discounted student tickets and tickets by check can be reserved by contacting Dee Hakala at [email protected] or 630.256.3408.