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Feb 01, 2022

The eighth annual African American Trailblazer Service Awards honors citizens who have made outstanding civic accomplishments and significant contributions to the Las Vegas community. To event was held Feb. 1, 2022; watch the recording..  

The African American Trailblazer Service Awards presentation also will recognize specific contributors in the following categories:

Business and Economic Advancement: Kenya Renee Young – This award recognizes local business professionals who have displayed entrepreneurial character, high standards, innovative professional practice and support of their local community.

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Kenya Renee Young is a native of Las Vegas, Nevada, raised in 22 foster care homes as a youth. Though she endured many obstacles while being a part of an untraditional family life, Young has persevered and has committed herself to maintaining a growth-mindset, helping others and opening up generational changes for her own children. As a certified life coach in the community, Kenya helps people to Liberate, Innovate and Empower (L.I.E.) themselves. 

Young is a self-published author and released her first book in 2018, titled L.I.E. Aspirations. Young has since self-published two additional books, “The Entanglement of the Mind, and 30 Seconds with Kenya, a Daily Devotional,” with more inspirational writings to come. As an extension of her third book, Young currently hosts a daily Facebook Live broadcast called “30 Seconds with Kenya,” during which she shares positive messages aimed to encourage, inspire and motivate her audience.

In August 2021, Young opened Marlon’s Closet and Bookstore, named after her late brother Marlon Young. Marlon’s is an entrepreneurial marketspace where other entrepreneurs can feature their merchandise; it gives start-up companies, local authors and local boutiques the opportunity to make their manuscripts, books and clothing accessible to the community. Located in Las Vegas’ Historic Westside, Marlon’s brings life, energy and new opportunities for growing businesses. 

In 2018 Young founded L.I.E. International, a 501(c)(3) organization. Through unique programs developed for L.I.E. International, Young is able to assist those in need of mental health education and therapeutic services as well as spearhead advocacy efforts for mental health and youth that have aged-out of the foster system. Through L.I.E. International, Young has hosted a mental health expo for the past two years. The expo brings awareness to the importance of mental health, how those affected can get help, and how the community can assist those living with it. L.I.E. International has joined other nonprofits and businesses, such as Planet Mike Earth, as well as And What Fashion, to conduct community give-back work for the homeless, and underserved families throughout the year, providing toiletries, clothing, blankets and food. 

Twice a year, L.I.E. International partners with Coffey and Biz to coach and aid a budding entrepreneur (minor or adult) through the steps of starting their own business and in obtaining a business license by funding and assisting in the completion of their application. Young’s ultimate goal for L.I.E. International is to have a housing development secured for foster youth who are exiting the foster care system, complete with resources to help keep them connected as thriving citizens in our community.

Community Activism and Politics: Roxann McCoy – This award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated through their achievements the ability to advocate, organize and engage citizens, and inform public policy on issues that improve the quality of life for the community.

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Roxann McCoy was born in Phoenix, Arizona, and has been a resident of Las Vegas for more than 33 years. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management from the University of Phoenix. McCoy is currently the president of the Las Vegas Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), where she has served in that capacity for over 6 years. Under her leadership, the local NAACP has increased membership by 40 percent, and the group, along with a variety of community partners, has implemented numerous successful programs that positively impact local students, as well as laws effecting disenfranchised residents in the Las Vegas valley. 

McCoy and her team have helped effect change within the Clark County School District in areas such as, increasing the presence of African American studies within the system and initiating a culture shift to improve access and equity for all children to ensure quality education, regardless of zip code. McCoy has also helped change crucial policies and procedures within the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, concerning such topics as, race, body camera usage, duty to intervene, and use of choke holds, to name a few. 

McCoy is also the president and CEO of Las Vegas-based Aspire Consulting Group, a boutique consulting firm which specializes in business development, community outreach and image consulting. She consults regularly with local business owners and political representatives, helping to shape their brand awareness and providing advice on diversity, equity and inclusion, cultural competency and strategic planning. 

McCoy serves as a board member for Southern Hills Hospital, board member of United Way Impact Circle, former board member for the city of Las Vegas Community Development Block Grant and previous board member for the city of Las Vegas Civil Service Board. McCoy is also affiliated with a number of other local organizations such as the Urban Chamber, 100 Black Women, Metro’s Multi-Cultural Advisory Committee, My Brother’s Keeper and the Clark County Black Caucus. McCoy has been nominated for, and is the recipient of, numerous prestigious awards. She has most recently been recognized by the African Chamber, and with the Women of Excellence Award from the Kappa Alpha Psi Las Vegas Alumni Chapter for her community service and work in civil rights. McCoy’s other awards include: Women of Wealth Bridge Award, Community Impact Award, The Queen’s Tea African American Womanhood Award, Distinguished Women in Nevada, Proclamation from Commissioner McCurdy, and Heroes and Community Award. Her selfless involvement, passion and endless energy have aided tremendously in solidifying her ability to positively impact lives of people in the Las Vegas community.

Educator: Dr. Linda E. Young – This award honors those who, as a teacher, instructor or school administrator, have demonstrated excellence in mentoring, guiding and preparing students to achieve their full potential.

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Born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, all of Linda E. Young’s earlier childhood educational schooling and upbringing was in a home environment where the value of education, cultural arts and music, and sports were highly emphasized. Dr. Young obtained Bachelor’s Degrees in Spanish, speech, and English and a Master’s Degree in school psychology from the University of Dayton. She went on to earn a Doctorate Degree in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University. 

Dr. Young was an influential and long-standing employee of the Clark County School District, where she served for 32½ years. During her tenure, Dr. Young worked in a variety of roles, to include school psychologist, coordinator for Special Education Programs, elementary special education teacher, high school dean, assistant principal, sixth grade center principal, director of the District-wide Multicultural/Diversity Program and director of the Equity and Diversity Education Program. Dr. Young was elected to the Clark County School Board of Trustees on Nov. 2, 2008, where she served three, four-year terms, representing students, parents, schools, and communities in District C until she left office on Jan. 4, 2021. During this time, she held several school board officer roles: clerk in 2010, vice-president in 2011, 2014, and 2017, as well as president in 2012, 2015 and 2016. 

Currently, Dr. Young is the president and founder of the Village Foundation, LJP, working for equity and justice for students. She is also a Golden Life Member, and former president of both the Las Vegas and the Colorado Springs Alumnae Chapters of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Dr. Young can be found continuing her advocacy for valley citizens as the past founder, past president and current member of the Northwest Area Residents Association in Las Vegas, Nevada as well as former educational chair and Silver Life Member of the NAACP. 

Among Young’s countless awards and recognitions include: 2021 Desert Rose High School Black Lives Matter Advocacy Awards; 2021 National Association of School Psychologists Outstanding Advocate Award; 2020 Education Support Employees Association Appreciation and Advocacy Awards; 2013 Educator of the Year for the Democratic Black Caucus; 2012 Founders Award for the National Association for Multicultural Education; 2012 NAACP Community Recognition Award and the NAACP Heartbeat Award; 2005 Clark County School District Excellence in Education Hall of Fame Inductee; and Parade Marshal for Nevada’s First State Holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King. Young authored a book of poems titled “Life’s Snapshots of a Soul,” which was published in 2015, and “The Pretty Little Red Rose” Children’s Books series will be published in the future.

Spiritual Community: China Hudson – This award will be presented to a spiritual leader who has transcended organizational boundaries to promote spiritual and religious growth, partnership, and engagement through inspired action and visionary leadership.

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China Hudson, also known as “Ms. China,” is an initiated practitioner of African spirituality and a cultural traditionist. She received her spiritual training from both the Oyotunji African Village in South Carolina and the Krobo Villiage in Ghana West Africa, and has been a driving force in the Las Vegas community for over 23 years. Bringing culture and ancestral reverence to the forefront of our community, she has taken cultural arts, such as African dance, storytelling and drumming and formed them into a spiritual experience. 

Hudson is the embodiment of the Sankofa Bird; reaching back in history and bringing forth the historical spiritual and cultural teachings of the African Spiritual Diaspora. In 2003, she co-founded Sisters In Society Taking Action (S.I.S.T.A.) Girls Rite of Passage Program based out of the West Las Vegas Arts Center. Celebrating the principles and values of African American culture in the spirit of Harambee (coming together) and based on the principles & teachings of an African Rite for young girls ages 10-17, S.I.S.T.A. has worked with over 500 youth and graduated over 200 young girls into womanhood. Ladies for Change Lifestyle Transition Program is the second phase of the Rite of Passage program, which is geared toward young women ages 17-22, as they make the transition into adulthood. Both programs provide life skills workshops in attitude, cultural awareness, financial literacy, positive self-body image, sexuality, health and the importance of community. 

Hudson has established youth cultural and empowerment programs for the city of Las Vegas, Clark County School District, Las Vegas Urban League, Clark County Parks and Recreation, and the West Las Vegas Library Theater. As a Spoken Word artist, African dance instructor and a member of Olabisi African Dance & Drum Ensemble, she is committed to maintaining African culture and tradition through poetry, prose, drumming and dancing. 

Hudson has written, directed and performed in over fourteen original productions, showcasing social, racial and political issues. Some of her other theatrical performances also include: “For Colored Girls,” “Vagina Monologues,” “Amen Corner,” “The Bluest Eye,” “The Color Purple-Las Vegas,” “Dreamgirls-Las Vegas” and “A Raisin in the Sun.” Ms. China continues to share her love of the arts as a teaching artist for both the Smith Center of Performing Arts, as well as the Nevada Arts Council. Hudson is a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, and in 2009, Hudson was the recipient of the Channel 13 Jefferson Award. She has also been recognized as the 2011 Las Vegas Black Music Awards Spoken Word Artist of the Year, Womelle’s 2016 Woman of the Year, and in 2019, Hudson was awarded a proclamation by the city of Las Vegas, designating the 23rd of February as “China Hudson Day.”

Tyrone Thompson Emerging Leader Award: Sean C. Tory – This award celebrates an up-and-coming individual who demonstrates a commitment to leadership and substantial potential for innovation, creativity, vision, and positive influence.

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A native of Las Vegas, Sean C. Tory received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). He continued on to earn a Master of Science Degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) in Marriage and Family Therapy, and is currently a Ph.D. student at UNLV for Curriculum & Instruction, with a concentration in Cultural Studies, International Education and Multicultural Education. 

Tory has served as the campus life development coordinator for the College of Southern Nevada (CSN) since 2018, where he is also a senior analyst/business advisor for NVGrow, a State of Nevada small business initiative customized for existing southern Nevada businesses that have over $50,000 and less than $700,000 in sales. Tory serves as an advisor for the CSN Black Student Union and operates the CSN Tyrone Thompson Student Union, through which he is currently opening the North Las Vegas Coyote Closet, dedicated to both Tyrone Thompson and Devon Stone. The Coyote Closet provides free professional clothing for students in need. In 2016, Tory co-founded and remains vice president of the King of Jewels Mentorship Program, a 501(c)(3). Through King of Jewels, Tory helps guide and educate young men of color in the Las Vegas valley through workshops, conferences and facilitated restorative and transformative justice practices. 

As co-creator of The Men’s Room, a space for Black men where thought provoking discussions take place on topics such as equality, equity or liberation and restorative and transformative justice, Tory brings Black men together to heal, engage, learn and build with one another. Tory is also an active member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. As a former member, advisor and executive director of the Alpha Men & Divas of Tomorrow (under the guidance of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.), Tory mentored youth to graduate high school and attend a four year college or university of their choice. With Tory’s assistance, the organization was able to help over 25 students obtain college scholarships between 2010-2019. Tory has been recognized as the 2019 Nevada Promise Mentor of the Semester for the CSN North Las Vegas Campus, he won the Dr. Thomas Wilson Outstanding Scholarship and Community Service Award in 2015 from UNLV, and has earned the 2013 Northern Nevada Black Cultural Awareness Society Youth Advocate Service Award. In 2011, Tory was given the Thornton Peace Prize from UNR.

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