Community Notebook; Onyx Community Awards Presented Today

Article excerpt

Byline: JOHN CARTER

The Onyx Community Awards will be presented beginning at 6 p.m. today at the Omni Hotel in downtown Jacksonville.

WJXT TV-4 news anchor Rob Sweeting will emcee the black-tie awards gala, which organizers say will be held annually.

The event celebrates the notable achievements of African-Americans in education, business, spiritual leadership, arts and letters, political involvement, community service, diversity, humanitarian, legacy, communications, music and sports.

Gertrude Peele will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award and a special posthumous award presentation will be made to the family of Robert Brown, a physician and community activist who practiced on the Northside.

The Onyx Awards, in its fourth year and held annually in Orlando, honors achievers at the state level. Jacksonville is the first in a series of cities to host a community awards ceremony honoring African-Americans at the local level.

"There are so many African-Americans here [Jacksonville] doing so much, for so many," Lillian Seays, co-publisher of Onyx magazine, said in a news release. "We know this will become one of the city's most significant awards ceremonies for years to come."

Onyx Community Awards is being produced by local vocal and music teacher and director Deborah McDuffie and will feature entertainment from Journey, the musical revue presented last year during Super Bowl week. …