2018 M.I.C Honorees

In 2018, we honored men advancing the legacy of change in Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Education and in Philanthropy.

Ngugi Wa Thiong’o

The Lifetime Honoree: Distinguished author legendary professor Ngugi Wa Thiong’o

Born in Kenya, Prof Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o,is  a distinguished author, and professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California. The year 1977 forced dramatic turns in Ngũgĩ’s life and career. His first novel in ten years, Petals of Blood, was published in July of that year. Sharply critical of the inequalities and injustices of Kenyan society, publicly identified with unequivocally championing the cause of ordinary Kenyans, and committed to communicating with them in the languages of their daily lives, Prof Ngũgĩ was arrested and imprisoned without charge at Kamiti Maximum Security Prison at the end of the year, December 31, 1977. An account of those experiences is to be found in his memoir, Detained: A Writer’s Prison Diary (1982). It was at Kamiti Maximum Prison that Ngũgĩ made the decision to abandon English as his primary language of creative writing and committed himself to writing in Gikuyu, his mother tongue. In prison, and following that decision, he wrote, on toilet paper, the novel, Caitani Mutharabaini (1981) translated into English as Devil on the Cross (1982). After Amnesty International named him a Prisoner of Conscience, an international campaign secured his release a year later, December 1978. However, the Moi dictatorship barred him from jobs at colleges and university in the country. He resumed his writing and his activities in the theater. While Prof Ngũgĩ was in Britain for the launch and promotion of Devil on the Cross, he learned about the Moi regime’s plot to eliminate him on his return, or as coded, give a red carpet welcome on arrival at Jomo Kenyatta Airport. This forced him into exile, first in Britain (1982 –1989), and then the U.S. after (1989-2002), during which time, the Moi dictatorship hounded him trying, unsuccessfully, to get him expelled from London and from other countries he visited. In exile, Prof Ngũgĩ worked with the London based Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners in Kenya (1982-1998), which championed the cause of democratic and human rights in Kenya. Prof  Ngũgĩ has continued to write prolifically, publishing, in 2006, what some have described as his crowning achievement, Wizard of the Crow, an English translation of the Gikuyu language novel, Murogi wa Kagogo. Ngũgĩ’s books have been translated into more than thirty languages and they continue to be the subject of books, critical monographs, and dissertations. He has also continued to speak around the world at numerous universities and as a distinguished speaker. He is recipient of many honors. Former President Barack Obama has named him as one of his best African writers. To learn more please visir his website https://ngugiwathiongo.com/about/

Kevin Onyona

Honorees Advancing the Legacy of Change in Entrepreneurship:

Kevin Onyona

CEO: Swahili Village

Impact: Entrepreneurship

We have all been or heard of one of the best African cuisine: The Swahili Village! Located in the DC area!

Meet the CEO: Kevin Onyona!

His award winning performance endeared him to various entities while his entrepreneurial gene drove him as a self taught chef to open the Swahili Village restaurant.

19 years as the President and CEO and now husband to Lynn, he has maintained a steady growth of his original concept for the last eight years to develop the best in African cuisine and World Class service. A move to the new location has confirmed his growth as an established restaurateur.

Sharif J Small

Sharif J Small

President S.J.S Financial Firm LLC

Impact: Entrepreneurship


Meet the Man behind one of the most impactful movement: The Wealth and Diversity Summit! Mission- to reduce the generational wealth gap, end poverty, increase equality and level the playing field for everyone to achieve the American Dream.
Sharif J. Small , personal background starts with him and his twin brother being raised 
by a single father in the Park Heights Area of Baltimore, MD. Having a loving and 
caring father kept them from all the drugs, violence, and gang activity within the neighborhood.
He is actively involved in various professional and community organizations such as the Financial Empowerment Committee Chair. He is the President at S.J.S financial firm LLC.

His mission in life is to be a blessing to others and to do God’s will by financially educating and empowering those less fortunate and the next generation for years to come. 

Peter Karenge Ng’ang’a

Peter Karenge Ng’ang’a

President: B360 ( Bizsolutions 360)

Impact: Entrepreneurship

We have all seen Mr. Peter Karenge Ng'ang'a on the National Press Club, we've seen him at the White House discussing the Power of Africa at the US-Africa Summit! Mr. Karenge is a husband and father, an architect and entrepreneur, passionate about creating innovative and sustainable solutions that transform communities and power growth on a big scale.

President of B360 (Bizsolutions 360) , a member of the American Association of Architects, the Architectural Association of Kenya and the United States Green Building Council.

Geoffrey Kiragu

Geoffrey Kiragu

President: FIS Staffing

Impact: Entrepreneurship

Robert Kennedy III

Robert Kennedy III

RK3 International CEO

Impact: Leadership

Robert Kennedy III  wants to live in a world where people are no longer afraid to confidently tell their stories...and they can also eat Reese's Peanut Butter cups for every meal without any repercussions.

His work as a keynote speaker and trainer has led him to work with organizations such as the US Coast Guard, Barnes & Noble, Panda Restaurant Group, Pennsylvania Parks & Recreation, Comscore as well as appearances on local networks like Fox45 and CW24.

He is involved in his community through various community boards including the Association for Talent Development Maryland Chapter, youth leadership programs and helping non-profits conduct mock interviews. He is also a professional member of the National Speakers Association.

Mr. Juan Antonio Webster

Mr. Juan Antonio Webster

Founder: LACC Foundation

Impact: Philanthropy

Juan Antonio Webster was born in Eden and raised in Madison, North Carolina both in Rockingham

County, a small area just outside the Southern Virginia/North Carolina border sitting north of

Greensboro and east of Winston Salem.  He attended The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

where he studied Sociology and graduated in 2002.  Upon graduation he continued his education at

North Carolina Central University in the Hospitality and Tourism Administration Department where he

would join the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality.  After serving as a local Chapter President

for North Carolina Central University he was named the National Chair of the organization which

landed him North Carolina Central University’s most prestigious award, The Soaring Eagle Award.

Juan has continued to advance his education and is pursuing a CHA (CHA®) which is the most

prestigious certification available to a hotel general manager and hospitality executive.   

In May of 2016, he oversaw the successful conversion into the

Radisson Baltimore Downtown Inner Harbor. As General Manager, Mr. Webster continued to develop

a world class team and maintained one of the top service driven inclusive work place cultures around the

area. In August of 2017, after 5 years at elevating 101 W. Fayette Street, Webster took on a new role as

General Manager of the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Baltimore Inner Harbor where he leads one of the

state’s few Four Diamond Properties. Monaco Baltimore was most recently named to Conde Nast’s

Readers Choice Award and continues to lead in hotel news and rankings as the premier luxury boutique

hotel in town.  

Upon his arrival in Baltimore, Juan did not waste any time learning and getting involved in the local

community. Since 2012 he has received the Humanitarian of the Year Award by the International

Rescue Committee of BALTIMORE, Most Inspiring Manager Award by Sheraton Baltimore City

Center, the Joe Manns Black Wall Street Award by the Choo Smith Foundation and recently named the

2015 Recipient of the Thomas F Hewitt Award for Leadership as a General Manager of the Year for

Interstate Hotels and Resorts, one of the company’s highest honors.  In June of 2015, Juan was the

keynote speaker at Stratford University’s Commencement Ceremony held in the Shiver Auditorium on

the campus of Johns Hopkins University where he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree in

 

Hospitality Management. He continues to work closely with Stratford University as a community and

business partner hosting classes, mentoring students and serving as a guest speaker.

Juan and his wife Kisha founded the LACC Foundation in December of 2012, a non-profit organization

aimed at impacting the lives of the homeless and less fortunate. Since they have served over 18,000

meals in Atlanta Georgia, Charlotte, North Carolina with the majority of the meals and services being

provided in the Baltimore area.  The LACC Foundation is now one of the fastest growing organizations

of its type expanding efforts and missions in Baltimore, Charlotte and Atlanta with Richmond and

Raleigh Durham in the pipeline.  Juan continues to impact those around him including his associates and

strangers which also led to the Baltimore Harbor Hotel being named Interstate Gives Back Hotel of the

Year for the entire company and the Full Service Division. In his spare time he can be found preparing

and delivering meals and other resources to the people in need. He has a tremendous commitment to

volunteerism and serving the community. His can often be found spending time with at risk youth,

young males seeking a second chance and literally everyone he comes into contact with. His efforts

have influenced nearby businesses, current and former associates, students and generally everyone

around him. He has received multiple accommodations from current and past Baltimore Mayors’

highlighting his work in the community including Homeless Outreach, Baltimore City Schools

Achievement Program and more. Juan was inducted into the Class of 2016 Top 40 under 40 by

Baltimore Business Journal leading the way as the top young business executive in the city of Baltimore.

Mr. Webster led the Radisson Baltimore Downtown Inner Harbor to receive the 2016 Mayors Business

Award and Smart CEO’s Corporate Culture Award for 2016 recognizing the area’s best places to work.

In December of 2017 Webster was awarded the Top 40 Under 40 for Maryland by Black Business

Review followed by the Daily Record’s 2018 VIP List recognizing professionals in Maryland that have

contributed to the business and community by the age of 40. He sits on the the Board of Directors for

Suited to Succeed, Kennedy Kriegers PACT: Helping Children with Special Needs and Baltimore’s

SqueezeCorp.

He often states he seeks God as his source of strength and believes this is the reason for his success.

Outside of his community service and civic work, Juan enjoys his family including hosting his relatives

from North Carolina and all parts of the south.  He and His wife Kisha have two beautiful children, a

daughter Morgan Alexandria and a son Lawson Jeremiah.

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