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Jamaican Ephraim Martin is the recipient of the 2006 Black Heritage Image Award (BHIA) for excellence in international relations.
The prestigious award, which recognises outstanding contribution to black heritage in the United States, was presented to Mr. Martin at a gala held recently in Illinois.
Mr. Martin, who is based in Chicago, is the president, founder and executive producer of the annual International Reggae & World Music Awards (IRAWMA), the Chicago Music Awards (CMA), the African/Caribbean International Festival of Life (IFOL) and the Caribbean Festival (CAF), Chicago.
The father of one child, Dana, and husband of Illinois Appellate Court Justice Shelvin L.M. Hall, Mr. Martin is also a panel member of the weekly W.L. Lilliard-Straight Talk on TV 25, which airs every Thursday evening across Chicago.
In a citation read by Mary Swopes, President of the Mahogany Heritage Foundation, Mr. Martin was credited for more than 25 years of work in advancing the music, culture, arts, crafts and lifestyle of the people of the Caribbean, Africa and other parts of the world.
The citation noted further, that over the last two decades, he helped to bridge the gap among peoples of different nationalities and ethnic backgrounds. In 1999, he established and hosted the Hands of Love event, in which church groups were encouraged to join hands and say a prayer against inner-city violence.
In May of this year, Martin’s Inter-Culture organisation produced the 25th anniversary of IRAWMA at the world-famous Apollo Theatre in New York City. The event, which featured Damion Marley, drew rave reviews from a worldwide TV audience.
The BHIA is a celebration of achievement, honouring outstanding leaders whose work and contributions perpetuate the dignity and depth of black heritage.
Previous recipients include: the Hon Rosa Parks, who is credited with starting the civil rights movement in the United States; Dr. Mae Jemison, first black female astronaut; Congressman Danny K Davis; Congresswoman Maxine Waters; outstanding athlete Jackie Joyner-Kersee; and Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu of Lagos, Nigeria.