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Honoring Local Leaders During Black History Month

Black History Month presents a unique opportunity to celebrate the achievements, culture, and history of the African American and Black community in February. This past year millions of Americans protested in cities across the country to demand social justice and racial equality. And older Americans have been adding their voices and perspectives to those demonstrations.

AARP Minnesota honors black culture, people, events, and history and pays tribute to the partnership and the work of three local community members. Hear from Mychael Wright, Cedric Key and Marvin Anderson as they reflect on the significance of Black History Month in this moment in time and discuss how we can work for a better future. WATCH NOW >>

Mychael, Cedric and Marvin have each made significant contributions and achievements in their communities and have all been recognized as 50 Over 50 honorees.

2020 50 Over 50 Honoree
Mychael Wright - Neighborhood Revitalizer

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Flashback to the 1990s when the intersection of Selby Avenue and Milton Street in St. Paul was known for crime, prostitution, drugs and home to an infamous speakeasy where police calls per day outnumbered customers. In the early 2000s, things began to change. That’s when Mychael Wright and his wife opened Golden Thyme Coffee & Cafe in a dilapidated building they renovated. That’s also when they launched the Selby Avenue JazzFest as a way of thanking their customers and of disrupting the view that the area wasn’t safe. That event has since grown from a small neighborhood gathering to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and a full-fledged community event that draws upwards of 13,000. The mission of the event is to reposition the Selby Corridor and to provide quality arts access to underserved individuals. Now 62, Mychael has also played a key role in other forms of development of the area, including mixed-use projects that include both retail and affordable housing for the neighborhood’s elders.

2020 50 Over 50 Honoree
Cedric Key - Empowering Enterpriser

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When Cedric Key attended Fergus Falls Community College, there were no dorm rooms available so he lived at the Fergus Falls State Hospital, where he saw firsthand how horrifically people with disabilities were treated. Today, Cedric, age 57 of Eagan, is CEO of Key 360 Support Services, which he founded in 2017 to provide needs-based support services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Rather than taking the one-size-fits-all approach favored by many existing service providers, Cedric and his growing staff focus on individualized programming designed to help people with disabilities develop life skills, live independently and integrate into the community. The business’s services include in-home family support and respite care, foster-care services and more, all with the goal of making a real difference. And make a difference Cedric does. As one grateful client/parent says, “The outcomes have been dramatic and thrilling for my family.”

2016 50 Over 50 Honoree
Marvin Anderson - Keeping a community’s stories alive

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At 76, Marvin Roger Anderson’s vitality, creativity, and community spirit are an inspiration for everyone he meets. Nowhere is this truer than in St. Paul’s Rondo neighborhood where Marvin is the co-founder of Rondo Avenue Inc. and the brains behind Rondo Days, a festival that celebrates the best and brightest of the African-American community’s stories, achievements, and culture. And while others might be content to rest on their laurels, Marvin’s not. He’s now leading a new effort to design and construct the Rondo Commemorative Plaza, a community space for contemplation, education, and inspiration. At the corner of Fisk Street and Old Rondo Avenue, the plaza will feature interactive displays and kiosks that tell the history of how neighbors worked together to rebuild their community.

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