The Chicago Urban League and LGBT Detroit to be honored with Esteem Awards for Outstanding CBO

Chicago, April 11, 2023 – Today, we’re proud to announce the Esteem Awards has bestowed its Outstanding Service, CBO, Local award to the Chicago Urban League and Outstanding Service, CBO, National award to LGBT Detroit. The honorees were selected by a committee of past honorees who reviewed an array of nominations. This year’s cocktail reception will take place in Chicago on Saturday, July 1, at Sidetrack 3349 N. Halsted in Chicago from 1:00 – 3:00 pm. The event is free and open to the public. All are welcome to attend. To support our Go Fund Me Campaign click here.

Following is a list of Esteem Awards finalist:

Outstanding Service, Male: Joel D. Jackson, works in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, part of the Urban Health Initiative at UChicago Medicine. He is the Director of Inclusion and Equity Strategies.

Outstanding Service, Female: Chicago Foundation for Women. Since 1985, CFW has led the movement to achieve fundamental rights and equal opportunities, investing in women and girls as catalysts in building stronger communities for all.

Outstanding Service, Transgender: Jae Rice (he/him) is a trans-masculine public figure fighting for the liberation of oppressed communities daily. Jae is the Interim CEO at Brave Space Alliance.

Outstanding Service, CBO/Social Services: Chicago Urban League. The Chicago Urban League works to achieve equity for Black families and communities through social and economic empowerment.

Future Leaders: Dion Alexander McNeal is an HIV Advocate, Community Co-Chair, and digital designer. He is the Manager/Founder of Hopeful in Victory LLC.

Institutional Award: Pride in The Pews. The organization is a grassroots nationwide nonprofit building bridge and creating solutions that empower the Black LGBTQ+ community to thrive in the pew, the pulpit, and the public square.

Artistic Expression: avery r. young. Chicago’s 1st Poet Laureate, interdisciplinary artist and educator avery r. young [him, him, his] is a Leader for a New Chicago 2022 awardee, a Cave Canem fellow and a co-director of The Floating Museum.   His poetry and prose have been featured in BreakBeat Poets, Teaching Black, Poetry Magazine and alongside images in photographer Cecil McDonald Jr’s, In The Company of Black.  He is the composer and librettist for a new commissioned work from The Lyrics Opera of Chicago titled safronia.  HIs full-length recording tubman. is the soundtrack to his collection of poetry, neckbone: visual verses.

Outstanding Healthcare Professional: Dr. Maurice Brownlee. Dr. Brownlee is a wellness & health services provider with broad expertise in internal medicine and treating infectious diseases. He is the Chief Wellness Officer & Medical Director of Wellness Homes in Chicago.

Special Recognition: Chicago Humanities.  Chicago Humanities connects people to the ideas that shape and define us and promotes the lifelong exploration of what it means to be human. Chicago Humanities fosters curiosity, celebrates creativity, explores the boundaries of contemporary knowledge and culture, and challenges us to see ourselves and the world anew.

Outstanding Service, Male: Dr. David Johns. David is an experienced policy expert and entrepreneur with a demonstrated history of leading teams in work that is both meaningful and measurable. Strong business development professional skilled in nonprofit and grassroots
organizing. He is the Executive Director of the Washington, DC-based National Black Justice Coalition.

Outstanding Service, Female: Stacey Stevenson. Stacey is an LGBTQ+ advocate, author, and speaker. For the past 20 years, she has dedicated herself to leadership. Stacey is the CEO of New York-based Family Equality.

Outstanding Service, Transgender: Edward C. Pizarro III, aka E.C., is an award-winning brand designer, educator, and event speaker. E.C. is the Executive Director of TransTech Social Enterprises.

Outstanding Service, CBO/ Social Services : LGBT Detroit. LGBT Detroit is a Michigan based 501c(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase awareness of and support to Detroit’s dynamic LGBT culture through education and advocacy with integrity and pride. 

Future Leaders: Deondre B. Moore. Deondre is an activist, community engagement expert, and public speaker. He is currently the Sr. Director of Advocacy & Partnerships at U=U plus.

Artistic Expression: Alan Sharpe. Alan is a writer/director of the LGBTQ+ stage and film. In the 90s, he started a theater company that became the African American Collective (ACT). He has written and directed over 150 plays, short films, and two web series showcasing the mosaic of African American LGBTQ+ culture and experiences.

Outstanding Healthcare Professional: Stephaun Elite Wallace, Ph.D. Dr. Wallace is a public health/social justice leader with more than 20 years of sexual/public health experience with diverse populations. He is Principal Staff Scientist for Seattle-based Fred Hutch.

Since 2007, The Esteem Awards has honored local and national organizations and individuals for their continued support of African American and LGBTQ+ communities in entertainment, media, civil rights, business, and art. is an online entertainment portal for the African American and LGBTQ+ communities. It features profiles of activists, authors, club promoters, filmmakers, performance artists, conferences, support groups, and health & wellness resources.