Black Tie for Black History event honors seven, raises funds for Juneteenth - The Buffalo News

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Black Tie for Black History event honors seven, raises funds for Juneteenth

A musical educator, transportation planner, anti-poverty program administrator and barber are among the honorees of this year’s ninth annual Black Tie for Black History gala.

The event benefits the annual Juneteenth Festival held in Martin Luther King Park, which commemorates June 19, 1865 – the day Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War was over and slaves were to go free.

The gala, which includes dinner, will be held from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Feb. 28 in the Tralf Music Hall, 62 Main St.

“We’re trying to help Juneteenth, and we also really want to shine the light on people who are doing great things in the community,” said Marnetta Malcolm, the event’s co-founder.

The 2014 honorees are:

• Linda Appleby, who taught at Frederick Law Olmsted School 56, City Honors School, South Park High School and other Buffalo public schools in a 40-year career. She was also director of music at the former St. Mary of Sorrows Parish, and currently operates a studio from her home and facilitates an artist-in-residency program for the Buffalo Public Schools.

• James K. Morrell, manager of planning with the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, who volunteers with several boards, including the City of Buffalo’s Planning Board and Homefront, a housing community development agency.

• Catherine Roberts, vice president for program administration for the Community Action Organization of Erie County, who oversees day-to-day operations and program management functions. She was previously director of promotions and public affairs at WBLK-FM for nearly 15 years.

• Jason Maclin, who operates the hair salons Chopafellaz Unisex, 3251 Bailey Ave., and Chopafellaz Legends, 1088 Kensington Ave. He dispenses health information by providing AIDS testing and condom distribution to prevent disease and unwanted pregnancies, and stocks his shop with children’s books and worksheets. He is president of the Coalition of Professional Barbers and Beauticians.

• Mary Nicole Douglas, a tax accountant and owner of M.N.D. Accounting, with offices in Buffalo and Charlotte, N.C. The Buffalo native, who overcame the challenge of becoming a single mom at age 16, began her accounting career at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Charlotte.

• Bonita M. Whitlock, who has operated BoBo’s Group Family Day Care in her home for the past 22 years. She is a certified reflexologist, and also owns Organic Gold Coffee. She previously worked as an environmental service aide at Women’s & Children’s Hospital.

• Jamil Crews, who promotes civic engagement between the city’s residents and local government through the Mayor’s Division of Citizen Services. He is treasurer and a charter member of the Buffalo Urban League Young Professionals, the founder of Capital Change, which promotes civic engagement and philanthropy through fundraising, and owns Crews Brand Marketing, a digital marketing agency.

The night’s festivities at the Tralf will include entertainment by the All-Star Band, Lyne Westbrook, Juanita Simmons, Rhonda Mingo and DJ Papa Trini. The event is presented by LP Ciminelli.

Plans include a dinner buffet of herb-roasted chicken breast, roasted vegetable medley, roasted rosemary red potatoes, greens salad and dinner rolls.

Tickets and advance buffet reservations can be made by calling the Tralf box office at 852-2860. Tickets are also on sale at, Doris Records and Walmart.


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