On June 15, the Ulster County Regional Chamber of Commerce and Ulster County Tourism are partnering to host the inaugural Ulster County Black Business Achievement Awards and Community Connect. Running from 5pm to 8pm it will honor local Black businesses and entrepreneurs from the past, present, and future. The event will be hosted at Ulster Savings Bank corporate headquarters at 180 Schwenk Drive, Kingston.
The first hour of the event will be dedicated to the awards portion of the ceremony. The categories for recognition are Community Awards, Business Awards, Black Business Leadership Award, and Black Business Excellence Award.
The recipients of the Black Business Leadership Award are Martin and Tamika Dunkley, co-owners of Seasoned Gives, a nonprofit located in Kingston. Seasoned Gives aims to tackle economic injustice in the community by offering mentorship, education, and entrepreneurship support for the local BIPOC community.
Receiving the Business Award are Everett Hodge, Tia Ashe, and Kamir Hylton-Jackson. Hodge, who passed away in 1991, was the founder of Everett Hodge Funeral Home (now the Everette Hodge Community Center), a civil rights leader, community activist, and dedicated Kingston resident.
Tia Ashe, founder of Love Hair, is the recipient of the present Business Award. Love Hair is a well-known hair salon in Kingston with a range of services including extensions, wigs, color, makeup, and eyelash extensions. Kamir Hylton-Jackson is the recipient of the future Business Award for the mobile street cart business Benny’s Tropical Ice. Benny’s also offers catering services for events in the area.
Recipient of the Black Business Excellence Award is Kevin Bryant, a New York State Supreme Court Justice. Recipients of Community Awards are the NAACP (of Highland, Kingston, and Ellenville), Tay Fisher Fundamental Basketball Camp, and Kingston YMCA Farm Project Youth Crew.
During the event there will be numerous compelling performances and prominent speakers. Some performers include Energy Dance Company and a gospel choir led by Pastor Doris Schuyler. Barbara Allen, author, entrepreneur, and sixth-generation descendant of Sojourner Truth, will also speak at the event.
Food will be provided by a range of BIPOC-owned local businesses, including We Got the Juice, Pointe of Praise Catering, Kulture, One N Only Cakes, Violet’s Bakery, Seasoned Delicious Foods, and Benny’s Tropical Ice. Beverages will be supplied by Adams Fairacre Farms, Keegan Ales, and JK’s Wine & Liquor.
The event will conclude with a ceremony featuring prayer lead by James Childs, the pastor of Pointe of Praise located in Kingston, and a spoken word performance by Nya Speller.