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Community servants honored by TLOD

Dallas Chapters of Top Ladies of Distinction and Top Teens of America, Inc. meet in Dallas

Community servants

Ladies, Lords and Teens of the Dallas, Southern Dallas and Trinity West Chapters will host more than 400 Ladies, Lords, and Teens for their 51st Area One Leadership Conference at the 5-Star Hilton Anatole Hotel.

Special guests include: National President and CEO of Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc., Lady Sharon J. Beard and National 2nd Vice President, Lady Jacqueline Wilcher.

During three days of training, seminars, business, and celebrations, members will focus on the Area One theme: “Transforming Area One Through Recruitment, Reclamation, Retention, and Recommitment” and whole-heartedly embrace and commit to the national theme: “Celebrating our Legacy: Transforming Lives and Making a Difference…One Teen, One Lady, and One Community at a Time” (TLC).

Celebrations will highlight the service that chapters have provided to youth and adults through programs and projects. Awards will be presented to Top Teen winners of the essay competition, performing arts, scholarships, and speakers’ tournaments.

At the Community Awards Night, the theme is “Soaring to Greater Heights of Exceptional Service” and exceptional individuals in the DFW Metroplex will be honored:

Opal Lee
Trailblazer Award
Opal Lee

Known as the “Grandmother of Juneteenth,” Opal Lee was present on June 17, 2021, when President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act bill that established June 19 or “Juneteenth” as a Federal holiday. Lee is the oldest living board member of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation, a national movement started by the late Dr. Ronald Myers to have Juneteenth declared a National Holiday. At 90 years of age, she started her walking campaign from Fort Worth, TX to Washington, DC to bring awareness to the need for celebrating Juneteenth nationally. She walked 2.5 miles in cities all across the country to represent the 2.5 years it took after Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation for enforcement to reach Texas to free the enslaved.

Ella Goode Johnson
Community Service Award
Ella Goode Johnson

Ella Goode Johnson has worked with others to build a cohesive community. Mayor Eric Johnson appointed her to serve as the new chairwoman of the Arts and Culture Advisory Commission for the City of Dallas. The Commission was charged with implementing the 2018 Dallas Cultural Plan, which addresses equity, diversity, space for arts, and a sustainable arts ecosystem, support for artists, as well as communications about the arts. Johnson was instrumental in the success of that planning effort that engaged more than 9000 Dallas residents. Under her leadership, there will be continued recovery and growth for the entire Dallas arts ecosystem. Initiatives include the planned Juanita M. Craft House re-opening, the work towards an updated economic impact report (AEP6), unveiling of the Arthello Beck statue, and the investment of $250,000 recently received from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Johnson’s community and civic involvements include the Theodore and Bertha Roddey Foundation in Catawba SC, Dodd Education and Support, Inc, Priscilla Art Club, Project Male (Cedar Valley College), African American Museum, NCNW, NAACP, National Association of Parliamentarians, and the Power of Woman Coalition at Paul Quinn College. She is a graduate of Leadership Southwest and serves as a volunteer administrator for The Heads Up! Foundation. An event planner and Dallas County Elections Precinct Judge, Ms. Johnson has served as President and Program Chair for the Women’s Council of Dallas.

Tara L. Paige
Community Beautification Award
Tara L. Paige

Tara L. Paige was quarantined to the island of home, so she decided to enjoy her patio space a little more than she previously had. Since the pandemic made everything abruptly stop, She thought it was time to decorate. While looking for inspiration, she could not seem to find ladies who looked like her in outdoor living spaces. Then the words of her mom came to memory, “If you can’t find what you are looking for, create it.” Hence, her outside living lifestyle brand, The Patio Chic was born! In addition, she is the brainchild behind “Black Women Who Love Outdoor Living Spaces ™. She helps people over-haul their outdoor living space or add to their space thereby beautifying the outdoor area and turning dreams into reality. She promotes recycling, so if an existing patio item can be re-invented to enhance the outdoor living space, it is incorporated into the project resulting in beautifully decorated spaces that get heads turning in the community.

Roland Parrish
Humanitarian Award
Roland Parrish

Roland Parrish is a successful businessman and Chief Executive Officer and owner of Parrish Restaurants, LTD, which owns 27 McDonald’s in the Dallas and surrounding areas Mr. Parrish is also passionate about helping others globally, especially supporting the education and welfare of youth. Roland Parrish, the philanthropist, quietly donates dollars to scholars in pursuit of higher education. Parrish annually sponsors “McMiracle on Highway 67,” in December where 5th grade students in the Dallas area receive new 26-inch bikes. Not only does this humble busi- ness owner and philanthropist share his treasures to uplift mankind; he also shares his time. He offers his life story and advice to students and encourages them to excel in the classroom and in the workplace.

Representative Carl O. Sherman
Civic Action Award
Representative Carl O. Sherman

State Representative Carl O. Sherman (D-District 109) is a transformational leader in faith, government, and business. Out of his faith grew a desire to serve people through roles in government. Rep. Sherman listens intently to his constituents and seeks solutions to their most challenging issues. He has been instrumental in promoting numerous bills on matters ranging from the Botham Jean Act to electronic bids for competitive bidding proposals. Rep. Sherman’s influence can also be felt beyond the walls of the Capitol. Nicknamed “Mr. Hope,” he hosted two Hope Summits highlighting social justice as it relates to the judicial process, law enforcement/policing, prison reform, and probation and parole.

In 2010, he became mayor of DeSoto and was re-elected in 2013. Under his leadership, the city launched an aggressive new focus on generating economic development centered on attracting quality jobs to the community.

MICHAEL J. SORRELL, Ed.D.
Innovation in Education Award
MICHAEL J. SORRELL, Ed.D.

Dr. Michael J. Sorrell is the longest-serving President in the 148-year history of Paul Quinn College. During his 13 years of leadership, Paul Quinn has become a national movement for its efforts to remake higher education in order to serve the needs of under-resourced students and communities.

Included among Paul Quinn’s numerous accomplishments during President Sorrell’s tenure are the following: winning the HBCU of the Year, the HBCU Student Government Association of the Year, and the HBCU Business Program of the Year awards; achieving recognition as a member of the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll; creating the New Urban College Model; demolishing 15 abandoned campus buildings; partnering with PepsiCo to transform the football field into the WE over Me Farm; achieving full-accreditation from the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS); creating the College’s first faculty-led study abroad program; and, rewriting all institutional fundraising records.

Tonya Stafford
Status of Women Award
Tonya Stafford

Tonya Stafford has over 10 years of experience collaborating with women, young girls and children. She been trained by the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA) program. As a survivor of human trafficking who, at a young age, was sold by her mother, Tonya is focused on eradicating human trafficking, one survivor at a time. In the fall of 2014, Tonya founded It’s Going To Be OK, Inc., with the mission to seek and create a just world where women, children, and vulnerable adults are safe, respected, and valued. Her ultimate desire is to educate the public about human trafficking and support the victims in rebuilding their lives as she has done. The organization provides a safe home for the women and their children of trafficking.

Stafford’s testimony at the Texas State Senate Hearings helped pass House Bill 2290 which recognizes January as Human Trafficking Prevention Month. She was presented with the State of Texas Resolution from the State Capitol on June 10, 2017, for her efforts to bring the first human trafficking walk to Dallas, Texas. Stafford was recently featured in a documentary produced by Ken Paxton, Attorney General of Texas, called “Be The One” designed to mobilize all Texans to “Be the One” in the fight against human trafficking.

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