The African Leadership group’s biggest and best Afrik Impact ever came to a rousing conclusion on the evening of August 27 at the Denver Botanic Gardens.
With distant thunder occasionally rumbling in the background, dressed-to-impress celebrants wined, dined and enjoyed a beautiful evening in an idyllic setting during the 7th annual Afrik Impact Gala.
The gala, ALG’s major fundraising event, also brought in $35,000 in donations during a paddle-raise auction. While that is an impressive sum, ALG intends to ramp up the fundraising aspect of the event in future years. That will take a community effort, and we invite all to participate, not just reaching deep into your own pockets, but also by recruiting friends who might be able to contribute generously to a worthy cause.
Afrik Impact demonstrates that ALG is not an organization exclusively focused on African immigrants, ALG Founder and Executive Director Papa Dia said in opening remarks at the gala.
“I’m very proud of not just the African immigrant community but the community at large. If you look at this room, it tells you that the great State of Colorado that we live in doesn’t care where you came from, it doesn’t care what you look like. All it cares about is bringing the community together. And as an organization, that’s what we strive to do day in and day out.”
Colorado Governor Jared Polis also spoke at the start of the gala, and echoed Papa’s words about Colorado being welcoming to all.
“We are so proud in Colorado to be home to a strong population of immigrants and refugees including immigrants from nearly every African country,” Polis said. “And it doesn’t matter in Colorado whether your family arrived a week ago, a year ago, century ago. We all deserve to participate in a Colorado for all.
“Tonight we celebrate the achievements of our African immigrant community of Colorado and the African Leadership Group,” Polis said. “From leadership and education programs to professional development to community building, businesses that not only are livelihoods for families but also grow and employ others. The African Leadership Group is really a model for supporting our immigrant communities from across the state.”
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock also attended the gala. He said Denver is getting close to landing a direct flight from Denver International Airport to the continent of Africa. Before his final term in office expires next year, Hancock said, he wants “to move the needle as quickly as possible because I think you’ll all agree that we’re not complete until we connect to the Motherland.”
You can watch the gala and speeches here on Facebook Live.
While there were many compelling moments during Afrik Impact 2022, perhaps the most notable was our first-ever Business Pitch night, during which budding entrepreneurs, in a shark Tank-like atmosphere, asked a panel of business leaders to contribute to their businesses.
“To me, the Business Pitch Night was THE highlight of Afrik Impact this year,” Papa said. “I am excited for it to become even bigger and better in future years, with more and bigger prizes for our entrepreneurs.”
Three winners emerged from the competition. Lyvette Hines took the top spot and $10,000 for her business, MagicMer. MagicMer “was created to provide a hair product for all hair types focusing on textured hair. MagicMer Whipped Creamy Mer Butter moisturizer is anti-inflammatory, reducing itchy dry scalp, and provides healing to the scalp without clogging the pores,” according to Lvette’s description.
Second prize and $5,000 went to Nia Reign for her business, The Zen Keeper, a private bookkeeping practice that helps business owners record and track their financials by implementing internal bookkeeping processes and procedures.
And third prize and $2,500 was captured by Efetobore Isiku, whose business, Gifted Hand LLC, is a balloon decorating business focused on residents living in assisted communities and memory care units.
The gala was the cherry on top of a month’s worth of educational and entertaining events, all to celebrate the indelible impact the African immigrant community has on the State of Colorado.
Here are links to videos of all the other Afrik Impact events:
Youth Empowerment Celebration: “Growing up African in America” (Recap and photo gallery)