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Minorities-In-Business Presents First Annual Heritage Awards On February 8th

Tuesday night, Minorities-In-Business will present the first annual Heritage Awards in recognition of local figures efforts to bring diversity to the forefront of the Springfield community’s attention. KSMU’s Mike Donnelly reports.

Minorities-In-Business aims to promote minority-owned businesses in the area, and also recognize the importance of making Springfield a diverse city.

During the ceremony, there will be awards given out in three categories.

The Advocacy Award will be given to the Springfield Chamber of Commerce in recognition of anti-racism workshops that they have promoted throughout the community.

Kristen Westerman, Manager of Workforce Development for the Chamber, explains its involvement.

“The main thing that we did in 2010 was to try to raise awareness as to why diversity is so important to the Springfield community, and specifically why it’s important to the businesses and to their economic vitality,” she said.

The Achievement Award will be given out to Ronald Ponds, who is recognized for his business leadership and contributions to Springfield boards.

Finally, Francine Pratt, Executive Director of Isabel’s House crisis nursery, will be given the Community Service Award for her extended efforts towards diversity.

Recognizing diversity is something that goes beyond the business world, Westerman says, and into the community itself.

“It’s something that a lot of younger people have grown up with and expect in a community, so as we look to grow as a community and [look toward] getting new people and new businesses, then we need to consider what people are looking for in a community and diversity is very important,” she said.

The reception will be held at Q Enoteca wine bar at 308 West Commercial Street on February 8, and begins at 5:15 p.m.

For KSMU News, Mike Donnelly