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The SHIPHT Youth Career Technical Education and Entrepreneurship Academy in collaboration with the University of Northern Iowa is excited to announce the inaugural Spirit of Griots Culture Makers Honors on March 29th, 2024 at the Gallagher Bluedorn.  Taking place during SHIPHT Dreams weekend and brought to you with support from TruStage and U.S. Bank, the purpose of the event is to celebrate the impact of history makers on a local and national level.


Griots originated from West Africa and served as storytellers, musicians, praise singers and oral historians of their communities. They preserve the genealogies, historical narratives, oral traditions and culture of the people to keep history and customs alive. Griot Honors aims to celebrate modern-day Griots and allies, who boldly continue this timeless tradition. Hosted by the Senior Pastor at Antioch Baptist Church, Charles Daniel and Deidre DeJear, small business owner and voting rights activist, tickets are available online here

Honorees and categories are listed below:

Culture: David Goodson, Social Action Inc.

Justice: Nikole Hannah-Jones, Pulitzer-prize, NY Times bestselling Author

Sports:  Robert Smith, Executive Director of UNI-Cue

Trailblazer: Mayor Quentin Hart, City of Waterloo

Music: Israel Houghton, Grammy award-winning American Christian music recording artist, songwriter, producer and worship leader

Business: Rodney Anderson, Lance Dunn & Sherman Wise All-In Grocers

Champion: Blk & Bold Specialty Beverages (Rod Johnson & Pernel Cezar)

Future Icon: Nathan Anderson, UNI Student and Black Student Union

Faith & Spirituality: Pastor Marshaundus Robinson, Impact Church

Philanthropy & Allyship: R.J. McElroy Trust

Education: Audrey Wallican-Green, Waterloo Schools

Wellness: Dr. Nafissa Cisse Egbuonye, Vice President of Growth and Community Engagement - Molina Healthcare Former Director of the Black Hawk County Health Department

Game Changer: Nyra Jordan and The American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact

Icon Lifetime Achievement Honoree: Dr. Wilfred “Mickye” Johnson


Friends of the Spirit of Griots:

Debra Hodges-Harmon- Executive Director Jesse Cosby Neighborhood Center


U.S. Bank


SHIPHT, a program of ONE Cedar Valley, aims to activate the next generation of diverse leaders in career technical education and entrepreneurship.  During the last three years, SHIPHT has provided career exploration, capstone trips and in-depth explorative opportunities for more than 300 participants. The weekend also features a Health expo, the ten year anniversary of the Cedar Valley Fashion Art & Culture Expo and the Shipht Dream Youth Career Technical Education & Entrepreneurship Summit held on UNI campus featuring Shalaya Morissette(she/her), Chief of the Minority Business and Workforce Division at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Waterloo Native Andre Wright of Wright House of Fashion.  

Tickets Available Here

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