2018 Closing the Gap Award Dinner Honorees

John Rakolta, Jr. Leadership in Race Relations Award
Reverend Larry L. Simmons, Sr.

The Rev. Larry L. Simmons, Sr. has lived a life of advocacy, beginning as a student radical pushing for change in the 1960s, as a staff member at the Detroit Urban League, as political director in the administration of Mayor Coleman A. Young, as an ordained pastor and, more recently, adding the duties of Executive Director of the Brightmoor Alliance. Through all these commitments, he also has found time to become a strong advocate in such other mission-driven volunteer activities as the Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren and the Hope Starts Here Coalition for Early Childhood.

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Business Award
Detroit Manufacturing Systems 

Detroit Manufacturing Systems (DMS) is a large-scale component manufacturing facility in Detroit that is helping to revitalize the city through significant job creation, currently employing more than 1,000 workers at its Detroit facility. DMS has adopted the “Seven Generations Philosophy,” originated by the five native tribes of Iroquois, which advocates for the current generation of mankind to live and work in harmony to the advantage of seven generations to come. The company concentrates its efforts on building a cohesive community of colleagues that promotes personal and professional improvement and stability.

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Social Impact Award
Cave of Adullam Transformational Training Academy

The Cave of Adullam Transformational Training Academy (CATTA) uses martial arts to teach the young men participating in its program how to be conscious of their mental health by exposing their inner feelings and experiences, heightening awareness of their state of mind and curbing their negative reactions to life’s challenges. Participants develop the mental and spiritual fortitude to circumvent the pitfalls of an inability to control or regulate their emotional response to provocative stimuli that can lead to life-altering consequences.

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