The University of Central Arkansas Alumni Black Alumni Chapter will host its third annual banquet event Saturday.
Franklin Holbrook said they are their infant stage of creation but this year, wanted to focus on creating awards for those in the community making a difference.
In addition, the group created the first One Award, given to a person who has risen through challenges in their careers to set an example for African Americans following in their footsteps.
Holbrook said the award got its name after during a conversation about culture as young African Americans growing up.
He said the group realized that growing up, there was also that one black person in the post office or the one black teacher or the one black police officer, one African American out there that got a good job, kept it and used their experience to influence and advocate for their culture.
He always wondered, Holbrook said, how that one black person got that job and what they had to do to get there.
He said those people set the bar for others in the African American culture and oftentimes were the deciding factor toward how those of other races deemed the black community as cultural references.
Holbrook said that in the 80s and 90s, it was difficult for a black person to get a good job. But over time, more and more started rising to jobs of significance, due in large part to the efforts of the African American generation before them that fought hard to rise up in the workplace.
Through this new One Award, he said, they can finally pay tribute to the examples that they had as kids and say thank you for assuming the responsibility to make sure younger African Americans were taken care of, the culture was progressed and more.
“That was a lot on their plates,” Holbrook said.
UCA’s Vice President for Student Services and Institutional Diversity Ronnie Williams is set to be the first recipient of the One Award.
“Ronnie’s a very humble guy, and he’s more deserving than most people I know,” Holbrook said.
He said has been impressed with the way the community and Conway has supported this chapter.