On Saturday, June 23rd, Big Sean hosted a massive Block Party at the Ford Resource & Engagement Center on Detroit’s Eastside.

As the signature event of his D.O.N. Weekend, the Block Party not only gave Detroiters a free fun-filled day, full of games and activities, the event also honored pillars in the 48205 community during the Neighborhood Hero Awards.

Photo: Tafari Stevenson-Howard

Sponsored by the Sean Anderson Foundation in partnership with the Ford Motor Company Fund, Big Sean and his mother Myra Anderson specifically chose to host the event in Detroit’s 48205 neighborhood as a means of showing love and highlighting the positive aspects of a neighborhood often portrayed in a negative light.

Photo: The Detroit News

“We wanted to put on an event to showcase people in the community that are making difference and impacting people in a positive way,” said Shawn Wilson, organizer of the Neighborhood Hero Awards. “It was great to have Big Sean here because so many people look up to him and he is doing a lot of great things for our city.”

Photo: Tafari Stevenson-Howard

Inside a packed gymnasium at the Ford Resource Engagement Center, the crowd hung off every word Big Sean spoke during the awards presentation.

“Growing up, it seemed like Detroit got overlooked, but Detroit is the best city in the world,” Big Sean said. “Detroit is on now. We are survivors. We were born with that hustlers spirit.”

Photo: Tafari Stevenson-Howard

The honorees for this year’s inaugural Neighborhood Hero Awards went to Sandra Turner-Handy, Horace Stone and the 9th Precinct of the Detroit Police Department for their individual and collective contributions to Detroit’s 48205 community.

Photo: Tafari Stevenson-Howard

Sandra Turner-Handy, community engagement director for the Michigan Environmental Council has mentored youth in the 48205 zip code for more than 20 years. Among her many accomplishments, she is credited with petitioning to have local businesses within the area certified as Project Green Light locations with the Detroit Police Department and she helped Denby High School students with designing the $1.5 million revitalization of Denby’s Skinner Park.

“This is award is not just for me, it’s for everyone,” Turner-Handy said. “All of us have helped make a difference. Our community deserves better and we are working together to get it done.”

Horace Stone, who teaches at Fisher Upper Magnet Academy, has lived in the 48205 area his entire life. He was awarded for his commitment to coaching and mentoring young black males in the community.

The 9th Precinct of the Detroit Police Department partnered with Men of Courage to lead community discussions around young men that may be headed down the wrong path. The 9th precinct’s community engagement also includes hosting “Talk It Up Thursday” a weekly conversation geared toward coming up with solutions to make the “205” community stronger.

Wilson is proud to be able to honor people doing good work in the 48205 community, but hopes the award can spread throughout all Detroit neighborhoods. “I want to be able to recognize people that are influencers and powerful in their community,” Wilson said.

“At the end of the day, it’s the people in neighborhoods that are holding it down and trying to keep their area safe.”

Photo: Tafari Stevenson-Howard

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