sandy_walker_michelle_spence-jones_web.jpg(Florida International University) – MIAMI — Five Miami-Dade County community leaders were honored for their commitment to equality and justice at the 12th annual People’s Choice Awards hosted by the community activist group People United to Lead the Struggle for Equality (PULSE).

“Society is a reflection of its leaders,” PULSE president the Rev. Dr. Anthon told about 200 supporters and city officials gathered Sept. 21 to celebrate the nominees and winners in five categories. “Let us all be the change we want to see in the world.”

The winners were:

• Jackie Bell, in the community activist category, for her work with the Overtown Folk Life Fridays open air market, arts & craft and food fair.

• Alberto Carvalho, in the political/educational category, for his work since 2008 as superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

• The Rev. Dr. Ralph McKinley Ross, pastor of Historic Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church, in the religion category.

• Thema Campbell, founder of Girl Power Inc., in the organizations category, for her efforts to reduce the rate of school suspension and arrest of adolescent girls.

• Sandy Walker, in the journalism category, for her work as founder and owner of Gospel Truth Magazine and as consultant/publisher for Smith Business School, among other activities.

Founded in 1982, PULSE works to eliminate discrimination in government, education and employment and has spearheaded a number of anti-crime

initiatives over the years.

Newly reinstalled Miami City Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones, the keynote speaker at the awards ceremony, was joined at the event by Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, City Manager Johnny Martinez and Interim Police Chief Manuel Orosa.

Spence-Jones, who re-counted the story of her indictment on corruption charges, her acquittal and subsequent return to the commission, added her call for more of the kind of activism the award winners exemplified.

“I challenge leaders to stand up and revive our community,” she said. “I urge everyone to join PULSE today because they do make a difference.”

Ten other community leaders were nominated  for the award: community activists George Ellis and Herschel Haynes; religious leaders the Rev. Johnny Barber of Mount Sinai Missionary Baptist Church and the Rev. Ralph M. Ross of Mount Zion Baptist Church; state Rep. Daphne Campbell; Henry Lewis III, president of Florida Memorial College; Charles Jackson, founder of “Making of a Champion”; Elaine Black, head of the Liberty City Trust; attorney Reginald Clyne; and freelance writer Joy-Ann Reid.

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CONGRATULATIONS: Sandy Walker, left, is congratulated by Miami City Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones, for winning the journalism award in the PULSE People’s Choice Awards held at Legion Park Community Center in Miami on Sept. 21.