The Bay Area Black Expo Blue Diamond Awards Shines in Oakland



Bay Area Black Expo Honors Pastor Joseph Cotton, Jr. with the Leadership Award. Left to Right: International Model, John Calton, Black Expo CEO Rose Lyles, Act Full Gospel Youth Pastor, Honoree Joseph Cotton, Jr.,  Act Full Gospel Senior Pastor Doris Limbrick, International Model, Jonathan Calton. Photos by Carla Thomas.

The Bay Area Black Expo held its 4th annual Blue Diamond Awards ceremony “Embracing Excellence through Diversity & Global Standards” last weekend at the Oakland Coliseum’s East Side Club.

The annual event highlighted the achievements of individuals and companies creating diversity in Oakland and the Bay Area.

Hosted by international models and identical twin brothers John and Jonathan Calton, also known as “The JJ Twins,” the event celebrated six community leaders: community advocate Ken Houston, social engineer Kevin Nichols, Pastor LJ Johnson of Kingdom Builders Christian Fellowship Church, Shirley R. Tatum and Pastor Joseph Cotton Jr. of Acts Full Gospel Church of God in Christ.

Houston, discussed his experiences when he lived among the homeless for a week. “I am committed to finding solutions and collaborating in the community to fight homelessness,” he said.

Nichols discussed how de developed a consulting business. He recently began a non-profit that provides a summer STEM program for youth and builds pipelines to promote diversity in the science and technology workforce.

Pastor Joseph Cotton Jr. was awarded for his leadership. He currently serves as the youth pastor at Acts Full Gospel Church, the follow-up chaplain at Santa Rita and Glen Dyer prison facilities and is one of the lead chaplains at juvenile hall.

“I spend my days encouraging inmates with the love of Christ and connecting them with vital resources such as employment, housing, and resources to help with an easy transition back into the community,” he said.

Cotton also empowers inner-city boys through the Our Kids, “OK” Program in Oakland, a national collaboration between school districts, faith-based communities and local law enforcement.

“It’s time for us to bridge the gap between officers and the community,” he said.

“With the help of Christ, we’ve gotten the (juvenile jail) population down from 360 incarcerated to 67, over a 3-4 year period,” he said. “As long as I have strength in my body, I will do everything I can to prevent our youth from experiencing prison and rehabilitating those in prison.”

Pastor Jennings of Kingdom Builders Christian Fellowship received the Legend Award, and the Humanitarian Award was presented to Community Advocate Shirley Tatum.


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