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Published on April 03, 2024
Bloomington Celebrates Local Heroes at Pioneers and Changemakers Event for Black History MonthSource: City of Bloomington

In an abundant display of recognition and communal respect, Bloomington's Zawadi Center played host to a gathering devoted to spotlighting leaders in the struggle for equity. The auspicious Bloomington Pioneers and Changemakers event observed each February in honor of Black History Month, assembled over 120 attendees to laud individuals and collectives with ties to the community who have made significant strides in the civil rights landscape.

This year, the event recognized ten remarkable persons for their steadfast dedication and contributions to pushing the boundaries forward toward a more equitable society. The honorees included Teron Buford, Kenny White, Chris Peterson, Ifeanyi Howard Odor, Tynika Smith, Tiffany Blackwell, Wendy Puckett, Lee Davis, Timmy Nguyen, and the HRA Administrator for Bloomington Aarica Coleman. In addition to these lauded names, two groups, celebrated for their work on the On the One Music Festival and the City's Juneteenth celebration, were heralded as Pioneers.

During the ceremony, a special nod was given to Karla Henderson, the former Bloomington Community Development Director, whose work merited the designation of a 2024 Pioneer and Changemaker. The honorees' stories, which traversed a spectrum of accomplishment and influence, were committed to video, providing an everlasting testament to their impact. These video tributes, ripe with the spirit of their subjects, can be accessed and shared widely through a dedicated channel on the City's YouTube page, serving as digital monuments to the honorees' legacies.

Aarica Coleman, a fresh honoree from the event, spoke to the importance of these recognitions, "It's vital that we acknowledge the steps taken on the long road to justice and that we lift up those who have shouldered the weight of progress," as reported by the City of Bloomington's official announcement. This sentiment echoed throughout the room, underscoring the collective effort and individual persistence embodied by each pioneer and change agent who was celebrated on this day.

For those inspired by these stories of change and progress, or those who wish to learn more about the individuals reshaping the landscape of Bloomington for the better, the video features of past and current honorees are available for viewing at blm.mn/pioneers.