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CSBM Outstanding Black Male Leaders of Tomorrow Awards

The Commission on the Status of Black Males awards the "Outstanding Black Male Leaders of Tomorrow" awards annually to recognize the contributions and achievements of young African American men in our community. The Outstanding Black Male Leaders of Tomorrow Awards is presented each year at the Black History Month Gala in February. The deadline for submitting nominations is February 9, 2015

Purpose of Award

To recognize and affirm the outstanding contributions made to our community by African American youth/young men and to encourage the development of future leaders.


  1. Nominee must have been a Monroe County resident for at least one year.
  2. Nominee must be either:
a) a high school aged African-American male who has demonstrated outstanding leadership, scholarship, and/or has been personally involved in making tangible, visible, and meaningful contributions to the Bloomington community; or,
b) an adult African-American male no older than 30 years of age who has demonstrated outstanding leadership, scholarship, and/or has been personally or professionally involved in making tangible, visible, and meaningful contributions to the Bloomington community.

Submit a nomination for 2015

2015 Outstanding Black Male Leaders of Tomorrow

Terrance Thomas Terrance Thomas Terrance Thomas is the Commission on the Status of Black Males 2015 Outstanding Black Male Leader of Tomorrow award winner in the adult category, and Laurence "Malik" Laffoon is our high school winner!

Receiving the award in the Adult Category is Terrance Thomas.Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Thomas gives credit to his parents and sports for keeping him on the right path growing up in an area of the city that was filled with violence and negativity. Growing up, Thomas' dream was to play pro football and to work with youth. As a result, he was a standout high school football player and earned a scholarship to play football for Indiana University (IU), where he was a four-year letter winner from 2007 to 2010. During his time at IU, Thomas volunteered with The Boys & Girls Club, Stepping Stones and Read Across America. After graduating from IU, he began working with Banneker Community Center in Summer 2011 as a Recreation Leader. Today, he continues to work at Banneker Community Center, now in the role of supervisor.

According to his nominator, "Terrance has worked faithfully in the key programs (at Banneker Center) and has proven to be a consistently available, dedicated and active supporter and advocate for the youth involved in them. Terrance is never not at work. Despite his status as a part-time employee, he works for our youth and teens around the clock. He is always making community connections, fielding parent phone calls and looking for resources to connect our students to a successful future. His choice to tirelessly and selflessly work for our community's youth and teens instead of pursuing higher pay or career advancement that he could easily find elsewhere makes him a perfect candidate for this award."

Malik Laffon Laurence "Malik" LaffoonThe recipient of the high school award is Laurence "Malik" Laffoon. The son of Dennis and Rochelle Laffoon, Laffoon is embracing his role as an emerging leader at Bloomington High School North and in the community. He is a junior with a 3.3 GPA, who is lettering in both basketball and track. In basketball, he is leading the varsity team in scoring as a starting guard, with honors as a Herald Times Player of the Week and All Tourney Team at the Holiday Classic Basketball Tournament in Versailles, Indiana. In 2014, he hit the game winning, 3-point shot against New Albany to win the first Regional Championship for North since 2004. In track, Laffoon competed at the Sectional and Regional level in both hurdles and high jump. When he is not in competition as an athlete for North, he has been a Cougar Leader and is a member of the Student Athletic Board and the Empowering Team Leadership Movement.

Laffoon is also a tutor at Tri-North Middle School, a coach for the Hoosier Hills Basketball League Middle School Division, an Iron Man volunteer for the Roger's Parsonage Project and a member and youth leader for Guy/Girls Loving and Obedient Worship (G.L.O.W.) at Bethel AME Church, for which he also runs the technology booth.

2014 Outstanding Black Male Leaders of Tomorrow

landon jones 2014 2 Landon JonesLandon Jones is the Commission on the Status of Black Males 2014 Outstanding Black Male Leader of Tomorrow award winner in the adult category, and Gabriel Jones is our high school winner!
Both winners were honored at the City of Bloomington Black History Month Gala on February 22, 2014 at the Hilton Garden Inn.

Landon Jones is a 21st Century Renaissance Man. Currently working on a master's degree in African Studies at Indiana University, he is a talented scholar, as evidenced by his selection as a recipient of the Posse Foundation Leadership Scholarship. Landon is active both on campus and in the community. At IU, Landon participates in the Emissaries for Graduate Student Diversity Program which helps train and connect current grad students with prospective students and lets them share their experiences about life at IU. Emissaries are available to answer prospective students' questions personally via e-mail. Each cohort of emissaries provides information and referrals on campus resources. In this capacity Landon has demonstrated his ability to build relationships and work with a wide variety of people, especially young people, making a positive difference in their lives and communities. He is an enthusiastic role model.
Landon's activities in the community are extensive. He is currently working on a script for a theatrical production. He is an active member of several organizations, including the City of Bloomington Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration Commission. He volunteers with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Bloomington, is a member of the NAACP and participates in Monroe County NAACP Branch activities. He also finds time to mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central Indiana, to study and learn about jazz, and to occasionally DJ at poetry slams and other events.

gabe jones 2014 2 Gabriel JonesGabriel Jones received two nominations to be recognized as our high school winner of the Outstanding Black Male Leader of Tomorrow. Nominator Ann Burke, faculty member at the Academy of Science & Entrepreneurship, wrote "I have had the pleasure of knowing Gabe since he was a freshman in my Biology/Health class at The Academy of Science & Entrepreneurship (formerly New Tech High School). Gabe is currently a senior and it has been a pleasure to watch him grow into his role as a leader both at our school and in the community. Gabe leads by example but also actively works to recruit others to be involved with programs that will benefit themselves, the school, the greater Bloomington area, and beyond."

Gabe is involved in the school on many levels: he is a member of the school's Business Professionals of America and Science Olympiad teams; he is Spanish Club President and has been co-president of student government; he is a peer tutor for his classmates; and besides his own involvement, Gabe has an ability to engage other students in participating in school activities. Other students want to be around him, and teachers do as well, according to Ms. Burke.

In the community, Gabe has been involved with the Monroe County Youth Council, where he is Advocacy and Public Relations Chair and recently was a facilitator of Youth Leadership Day on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Gabe also helps script, edit and produce a monthly Spanish language radio program on WFHB Community Radio, and he is a student correspondent for The Herald-Times. Beyond Bloomington, Gabe has attended the Indiana and the Global Youth Institute sponsored by the World Food Prize Foundation. He continues to work towards his goal of finding ways to help alleviate world hunger.

2013 Outstanding Black Male Leader of Tomorrow

Burnell Grimes Burnell GrimesBurnell Grimes, Jr. is one of the most influential and recognized African American student leaders on the Indiana University campus. Currently a senior majoring in pre-med political science, he is a positive, motivating individual who leads by example, not just by words. Burnell understands the importance of community and the willingness to go out of his way to help others. He has a caring energy that he freely gives to others, while never bothered by the demands of his time that people in need usually expect. Burnell helps mentor young men strive for academic excellence, having mentored many students, truly impacting the lives of his mentees. He has an unselfishness in everything that he does that earns the respect of his peers.

During his time at Indiana University, Burnell has served as a resident assistant, peer instructor, Executive Board Member for the McKaig Leadership Fund, President of the Thomas I. Atkins Living Learning Center, and Alumnus Representative of the Atkins community. In addition, he helped transform the Alpha Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi into a high achieving, collaborative, and respected organization, serving as both an officer and leader within the chapter. Burnell is responsible for aiding the revitalization of the Men of Color Leadership Institute, building goodwill between African American Greek organizations on campus as President of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, coordinating events to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of Kappa Alpha Psi in Bloomington, and implementing an agreement allowing African American Greek letter organizations access to campus facilities.

Burnell has also served the Bloomington community and others through organizing Adopt-A-Road Klean Up, Christmas with the Kappas to benefit needy Bloomington families and iKare: Haitian Relief, in addition to encouraging local Pan-Hellenic chapter members to support UNCF Evening of the Stars Telethon and Rape Awareness events.

Burnell is hardworking, ethical, consistent, reliable, and capable. He is concerned about the future of African American males and has a track record of addressing issues for the betterment of our community. It is for these reasons that we recognize Burnell Grimes, Jr. as the 2013 Outstanding Black Leader of Tomorrow.

2012 Outstanding Black Male Leaders of Tomorrow

Myles Adams3 Myles Adams, high school winnerThe 2012 High School recipient of the Outstanding Black Male Leaders of Tomorrow Awards is Myles Adams. A Junior at Bloomington High School North, Myles maintains a 3.71 GPA, was inducted into the National Honor Society and serves on the Student Council. Myles has already taken the ACT and SAT in preparation for college admission. As a result of his mother's death from a rare eye disease, Myles is looking to continuing his education in the field of optometry and has participated in the Jim Holland summer enrichment program in Biology at Indiana University. Myles leads his peers through his dedication in the classroom, but he does not stop there.

During the 2011 Thanksgiving holiday, he helped serve Thanksgiving dinner with the Community Kitchen and the Cry of the Children. Myles has built homes with the Habitat for Humanity, participated in the March of Dimes - Walk for Babies, Hoosier Outrun Cancer Walk, the search for missing Indiana University student Lauren Spierer, Kentucky's Animal Shelter, Indiana University football concessions stands, reading books to preschool students, and served as a Page at the Indiana State House for Senator Vi Simpson. Myles has traveled the world as a Student Ambassador the last three years, traveling to Australia in 2009, Europe in 2010 and China in 2011. His awards include third place in the City of Bloomington's - Black History Month Essay Contest, first place in the City of Bloomington's Martin Luther King Jr. web design contest, Scholar Athlete Award, student of the week award, and has been nominated for the Who's Who Registry of Academic Excellence.

Aaron Barnes Aaron Barnes, adult winnerThe 2012 Adult recipient of the Outstanding Black Male Leaders of Tomorrow Awards is Aaron Barnes. Aaron has been named a Cox Scholar, Undergraduate Student Leader 2008-2009, Undergraduate Student of the Year 2009-2010 and IU Top Student Leader. Most recently he was awarded the Kenneth R. R. Gros Louis award, which is awarded to a senior with academic excellence, leadership in student activities and a distinguished record of service as a good university citizen. For his academic pursuits and service to the university, he has been chosen to serve on the IU President's Board of Aeons, one of the highest university honors.

Aaron is a founder of the Men of Color Institute and serves as a Student Coordinator in the Office of First Year Experience. He is also a member of the Alpha chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Through his current role as President, Aaron has led many service activities and these have been recognized both in the community and the university. In 2011, the Alpha chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc was awarded the Bloomington Unsung Hero award and in 2012 the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award. Aaron continues to train others for leadership as he leads not only his fraternity chapter members but also as President of the National Pan-Hellenic Council. Under his leadership, the council raised over $7000 for philanthropic efforts and began a scholarship for undergraduate students at Indiana University. Aaron has also completed research experiences concerning the sustainability efforts of African Americans and plans to enter a doctoral program in marketing upon completion of his undergraduate degree, May 2012.

2011 Outstanding Black Male Leader of Tomorrow

Adrian Land 2011 Adrian LandThe 2011 recipient is Adrian Land. Adrian's motto is a reflection of Ralph Waldo Emerson's quote, "Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm." Adrian shows his enthusiasm every day - whether in the classroom, serving on a Commission or working with youth at Stepping Stones. Raised in Lexington, MS, Adrian completed his Bachelor's Degree at Alcorn State University with a major in Biology. He is currently a graduate student at Indiana University nearing completion of his PhD in Microbiology. Adrian is focused on the bacteria that cause deadly infectious diseases and hopes to use research and guidance from his mentor, Dr. Malcolm Winkler, to improve human health.

When not in the lab, Adrian serves as a house parent for Stepping Stones, a home for teens. He serves on the City of Bloomington Commission on the Status of Black Males, and was co-facilitator of workshops for the Men and Women of Color Leadership Conference and Black History Month. He is a member of the Midwest Crossroads Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate and a participant in the 2009 Compact for Faculty Diversity. He is an Emissary for Graduate Student Diversity through the I. U. Graduate School, and serves an an ambassador for the Office of Diversity Education. Adrian is also a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. In his own words, "Life is all about trying to help people."