We are highlighting examples of Black excellence throughout the year! Feel free to send suggestions to Rachel at rstoler@frcog.org.


Black Excellence: Dr. Kelechi R. Okoroha

https://www.mayoclinic.org/biographies/okoroha-kelechi-r-m-d/bio-20509737 Kelechi R. Okoroha, M.D., is a fellowship‐trained orthopedic surgeon specializing in Hip Arthroscopy and sports medicine. His clinical focus includes: Hip Arthroscopy Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) Hip Labral repair Shoulder Instability Shoulder Labral repair Cartilage & meniscus restoration surgery ACL reconstruction surgery shoulder replacement surgery Management of injuries in the…

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Black Excellence: Aja Monet

https://www.npr.org/2023/12/01/1215359803/aja-monet-tiny-desk-concert?ft=nprml&f=1039 Djembe. Drums. Piano and bass. A sweeping groove beckoned, welcoming us into the world of surrealist blues poet, Aja Monet. Transformed into a lush garden, the Tiny Desk blooms with the stanzas, sounds and legacy of jazz poetry.

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Black Excellence: Michal Worke

https://www.goodman-gallery.com/exhibitions/johannesburg-gallery-michal-worke-what-we-left-behind-2023 Worke is a Tel Aviv based artist who moved at age three from Ethiopia to Israel (via Sudan) as part of “Operation Moses”, a covert evacuation of Ethiopian Jews to Israel in the 1980s. This experience has profoundly shaped her studio practice. https://collection.africafirst.art/artists/artist/392305

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Black Excellence: Teyonah Parris

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teyonah_Parris Teyonah Parris (/tiˈɒnə/tee-ON-ə;[1] born September 22, 1987)[2] is an American actress. A graduate of Juilliard School, she began acting in 2010. Her first prominent role was playing secretary Dawn Chambers in the AMC drama series Mad Men (2012–2015) and starring in the 2014 independent film Dear White People.

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Black Excellence: Taraja Ramsess

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/movies/movie-news/taraja-ramsess-dead-marvel-stunt-performer-1235638289/ Taraja Ramsess, a stunt performer and set dresser with credits including Fast & Furious, Avengers and Black Panther movies, died on Halloween in a car crash in Atlanta that also claimed the lives of three of his children. He was 41.

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Black Excellence: Bill Withers

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Withers William Harrison Withers Jr. (July 4, 1938 – March 30, 2020) was an American singer and songwriter. He had several hits over a career spanning 18 years, including “Ain’t No Sunshine” (1971), “Grandma’s Hands” (1971), “Use Me” (1972), “Lean on Me” (1972), “Lovely Day” (1977) and “Just the Two…

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Black Excellence: Otherie Love

https://www.sesp.northwestern.edu/news-center/inquiry/2011-fall/alumni-profile.html In 1941 when Otherie Love did her student teaching as a Northwestern University education major, she became the first African American student teacher in the Evanston schools. She recalls that at the school where she taught all the children were black, but all the teachers were white.

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Black Excellence: Felicia W Shaw

https://www.sandiegoracc.org/committee Executive Director, San Diego Regional Arts and Culture Coalition A seasoned professional in the field of nonprofit arts management, Felicia’s career has spanned more than 30 years and has included an executive leadership position with the Regional Arts Commission of St Louis, and director positions with the San Diego…

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Black Excellence: Cherelle Parker

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherelle_Parker Cherelle Lesley Parker (born September 10, 1972)[1] is an American politician and Mayor-elect of Philadelphia. She defeated David Oh as the Democratic nominee in the 2023 Philadelphia mayoral election. When sworn in on January 2, 2024, she will be the first woman to hold the position.[2][3]

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Black Excellence: Dr. Charles S. Modlin Jr.

https://www.alumni.northwestern.edu/s/1479/02-naa/16/landing.aspx?sid=1479&gid=2&pgid=43071 Charles S. Modlin Jr. ’83, ’87 MD is a urologist at MetroHealth, a Cleveland, Ohio-based health system. A national health equity leader, he also is vice president and chief health equity officer at MetroHealth, developing innovative programs that strengthen an inclusive and diverse culture and promote health equity for…

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Black Excellence: Willard Wigan

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willard_Wigan Willard Wigan, MBE (born June 1957) is a British sculptor from Ashmore Park Estate, Wednesfield, England, the son of Jamaican immigrants, who makes micro miniature sculptures. His sculptures are typically placed in the eye of a needle or on the head of a pin. A single sculpture can be…

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Black Excellence: Fred Richard

https://www.wcvb.com/article/fred-richard-gymnastics-world-championships-team-usa-bronze-medal/45474822?utm_campaign=snd-autopilot&fbclid=IwAR1kFyMP8ZkBylaSRO1ljjEadLj43zBlMV40thnLqk0zVWfTYYUCFYhnecw# Fred Richard, a 19-year-old from Massachusetts, became the youngest U.S. men’s gymnast to earn an individual medal at the world championships by earning a surprising bronze in the all-around.

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Black Excellence: May Edward Chinn

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_Edward_Chinn May Edward Chinn (April 15, 1896 – December 1, 1980) was an African-American woman physician. She was the first African-American woman to graduate from Bellevue Hospital Medical College, now NYU School of Medicine, and the first African-American woman to intern at Harlem Hospital. In her private practice, she provided…

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Black Excellence: Laphonza Butler

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laphonza_Butler Laphonza Romanique Butler (born 1978/1979)[2] is an American politician who currently is a United States senator-designate. She has served as president of EMILY’s List since 2021. On October 1, 2023, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that he had chosen Butler to fill the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by the…

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Black Excellence: Leslie Jones

https://www.npr.org/2023/09/21/1200560901/snl-leslie-jones-memoir Saturday Night Live alum Leslie Jones was a college freshman when a friend signed her up for the funniest person on campus contest. It was the first time she’d ever done stand-up, but Jones says grabbing the mic felt like putting on a shirt that fit perfectly.

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Black Excellence: Major General Janeen Birckhead

https://www.npr.org/2023/09/24/1173815128/maryland-national-guard-janeen-birckhead-adjutant-general When applying to colleges, Maj. Gen. Janeen Birckhead and her mother exhausted every option possible to cover her tuition. For Birckhead, a career in the military was never something that crossed her mind. Little did she know her application for an ROTC scholarship at Hampton University in Virginia would…

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Black Excellence: Undra Duncan

https://citylifestyle.com/tulsa-ok/articles/beauty/step-into-the-world-of-undra-duncan If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a stunning, successful, high-fashion designer in New York, now is your chance for a glimpse. Undra Duncan, fashion designer and founder of Undra Celeste New York, shares a little bit of her world with us in her blog. Here are…

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Black Excellence: Ruben Flowers Sr. and Ruben Flowers Jr.

https://www.boston25news.com/news/trending/family-affair-air-southwest-pilot-son-recreate-cockpit-photo-29-years-later/PG244FTHN5EEBDWCNVY23WDZAM/?utm_campaign=trueAnthem_manual&utm_medium=trueAnthem&utm_source=facebook&fbclid=IwAR0xnOebAG77CKtI6vLEoOOr7JykRf_-P8lODu7wN6jwIdoyL6lsaG0nCDk Family affair in the air: Southwest pilot, son recreate cockpit photo 29 years later

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