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Award ceremony honoring Black Utahns returns on Juneteenth after 5-year hiatus

Posted at 10:20 PM, Jun 19, 2024

SALT LAKE CITY — Wednesday marks Juneteenth, which commemorates the ending of slavery here in the United States.

The day, which is recognized every June 19, became a federal holiday back in 2021.

At Neutral Ground in downtown Salt Lake, a celebration of Black men was held Wednesday night.

After a five-year hiatus, the Men of Impact Black-Tie Dinner was held.

The theme for this year's event was "Standing Tall: Leading With Distinction," highlighting the strength, resilience, and grace exemplified by Black men who continue to inspire and influence society positively.

In all, six Black men from here in Utah were honored during Wednesday's event, including Emmanuel Nnah.

"I know it's been a couple of years but the time is now," he said. "Juneteenth is important."

Nnah is the owner of CarGuyz Motors in American Fork. His business specializes in high-end, exotic and luxury vehicles.

"Being one of the honorees is a fun time to step back and realize, like, listen, we've done a lot in four years and hopefully just encourage and uplift, you know, generation below me to kind of do the same thing," said Nnah.

Tunisha Brown is the founder and editor-in-chief of Impact Magazine, which hosted the event.

"We're doing it with over 100 people here to just come out and celebrate," said Brown. "We have some of the most amazing people from the community from Strong and Hanni law firm, we have people from Tesla, people from the NAACP."

Brown said the men of impact honored at Wednesday's event will be on the cover of their next printed magazine. She says it will not only touch on the men who were honored, but also mental health awareness.

"It is important that we discuss and get to understand the mental health of our people. It is a lot to walk out here every day and to not only think about yourself, your community, your business, but it is a great thing for us to check on each other, celebrate each other," said Brown.

It's a sentiment echoed by those who were being honored, like Nnah.

"In my office, I've got people that struggle with that, so it's become real to me, it's become something that I've had to take the bull by the horns and learn about it and embrace it and try to help people get better," said Nnah.

Nnah told FOX 13 News Wednesday night that while he hopes everyone had fun at the event, he also hoped there was a level of inspiration those who turned out will get on this Juneteenth.

FOX 13 News anchor Robyn Oguinye was also in attendance on Wednesday, as she hosted the red carpet ahead of the honorary awards.