Spirit of Hope Award - Rochelle Riley
Rochelle Riley has made a positive impact in her community and served to help those in need in a variety of ways. She is currently Director of Arts and Culture for the city of Detroit. The author, essayist and arts advocate ended a nearly 20-year stint in 2019 as a columnist for the Detroit Free Press, where she was a leading voice for children, education, competent government and race. Riley is known as one of the top African American journalists in the United States; she has received several awards for her nationally syndicated columns. Riley has also been recognized for advocating for community service. Most recently she received the Service in Media Award for using journalism to raise awareness of and to encourage Americans' participation in national service and the Will Rogers Award from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists for community service. She has spent years crusading for better lives for children, improved race relations and increased adult literacy, by helping to raise nearly $2 million for literacy causes in Michigan. Rochelle also is a co-founder of Letters to Black Girls, a project to pass words of encouragement from black women to girls. She served as the emcee of the Governor’s Service Awards from 2006 to 2008. Rochelle has used her strong voice to raise awareness and make a difference for Detroit and beyond.