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Posted on: September 24, 2021

Sterling Heights City Council to Honor Committee's Diversity Champs

Sterling Heights Ethnic Community Committee has chosen five honorees for its 14th annual Diversity Distinction Awards, to be presented on Sept. 30, 2021, at 6:00 p.m. at the Century Banquet Center, located within the American Polish Century Club.

The Ethnic Committee is proud to partner with the City Council in presenting award trophies, provided through the generosity of Comcast, to deserving individuals, organizations and businesses that make a difference in our community.

The committee will honor five recipients. They include:

Stacy Bahri - Stacy Bahri has spent the majority of her career working as a community activist, educational leader and program manager for the Chaldean Community Foundation. Stacy has a dedicated background of advocating for minorities and has worked to reduce economic disparities for refugees. Stacy is involved in several committees that promote cultural diversity and inclusion, such as Macomb County's Breakfast of Nations and Student Diversity Summit, and McLaren Macomb's Diversity & Inclusion Council. Stacy has spent countless hours of volunteering her time to help with refugee resettlement committees, voter registration drives and events for special needs individuals, just to name a few.

Brenda Sanagustin - Brenda Sanagustin is truly a woman of style and many achievements. She is decribed by friends and associates as independent-minded, intellectual and gifted, not only in her leadership capabilities as a medical professional, but also in the field of arts. Brenda owns and operates Amazing Care Home Health Services, a Medicare certified home care agency located in Sterling Heights. Her business serves a diverse population, regardless of financial and economic status, religious beliefs or ethnic background. Furthermore, Brenda employs a diverse staff of professionals from countries such as India, Pakistan and the Philippines. Even with Brenda’s hectic work schedule, she still finds time to volunteer her time with community organizations such as the Far Eastern & American Nurses Association, Kiwanis and US Pinoys for Good Governance, where she is the current president. 

Warren Consolidated Schools - Warren Consolidated Schools consists of 25 public schools serving over 13,000 students, speaking approximately 70 different languages. Because of the immense challenges that accompany language barriers between students and staff, WCS has an entire department dedicated to their ELL program. For the past ten years, Warren Consolidated School district has been a consistent gold level sponsor of events sponsored by the Ethnic Community Committee, including the Cultural Exchange and the Diversity Award dinners, greatly adding to the success of each event. Their participation at the annual Cultural Exchange allows representatives to share helpful resources for all English language learners, bettering the lives of every child and adult enrolled in their programs. In addition, the administrative staff at WCS partners with the city’s Community Relations department during the holiday season to provide assistance to hundreds of less fortunate families in the community.

J.R. Counseling and Associates - J.R. Counseling is an integrated wellness clinic and consultation firm. Located in Sterling Heights, Jessica Ross, Clinical Director and Founder, has created a space for persons of different cultural representations to work as a team to help build support and offer resources for residents of Sterling Heights, Macomb County and the community as a whole, regardless of their cultural identity. The clinic believes in diversity, and employs those from different ethnic, cultural, racial, sexual, social and religious backgrounds. The key goal at J. R. Counseling is to promote diversity, equity and inclusion to help create liberation. The clinic also helps to educate the community on wellness as a whole person experience and emphasizes on removing the stigma of mental health that exists in many communities for people of color. J.R. Counseling also provides free clinical services for those in need. As a whole, J.R. Counseling & Associates is person centered and community focused.

Phil Gilchrist - Mr. Gilchrist is the Executive Director of the Anton Art Center, located in Mt. Clemens. Phil is responsible for all areas of operations, programming and fundraising. As Director, Phil focuses on inclusivity, diversity, equity and access. Anton Art Center offers growing outreach and free programming for the entire art community. Phil enjoys contributing meaningfully to the community and providing countless opportunities to all that are interested. In addition to his many hours spent growing programming and fundraising at the art center, Phil is the founder of the recently created Macomb County Pride organization. Macomb County Pride has a mission to create a supportive environment for the LGBTQ community and to be a resource for Macomb County residents. Phil continues to promote the organization's Inclusion Statement which states: "We respect and affirm the dignity of all people and promise to create pathways for inclusivity and support opportunities for all. We are focused on fostering a vibrant culture where everyone is respected and has a sense of belonging." Phil is also a long-time supporter and participant of the Ethnic Community Committee's signature events.

Sterling Heights Ethnic Community Committee Chair Carmen Williams said the committee takes great pride in selecting and honoring individuals, organizations and businesses for their efforts in promoting diversity throughout the city. “All of these honorees strengthen Sterling Heights’ quality of life through their dedication to making Sterling Heights a community of inclusion and cultural understanding,” Williams said.  “Each winner of this year’s award has earned distinction and we are very pleased to join the City Council in sharing their accomplishments with the community.”

For more information, call Community Relations at (586) 446-2470.

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