“Honoring Our Past for a Better Future,” was the theme for this year’s Recycling Black Dollars’ (RBD) 19th Anniversary, Positive Side Awards & Dinner event held recently at the Leon & Mattie Garr Foundation where 11 distinguished members of the Los Angeles Community were honored for their past deeds and contributions to the community.

The event was also another opportunity for the honorees as well as RBD supporters and Muhammad Nassardeen admirers to commemorate the tireless work and unabashed commitment Nassardeen demonstrated during his lifetime towards the advancement and support of Black business and to celebrate the equally-daunting and untimely demise of his mother, Amina Nassardeen.

Nassardeen was at work on this year’s Positive Side Awards and Dinner on the afternoon of October 11 when he suffered a fatal heart attack. His mother passed the day following his home-going services at the Crenshaw Christian Center where she spoke about a message she had received from God, signaling her son’s imminent death. She was at peace with his passing and was grateful that Nassardeen’s spirit was now forever with the creator.

They now walk hand-in-hand in “Glory.”

RBD is a non-profit corporation founded by Nassardeen in 1988. Its mission has always been to aid in the economic development of the Black community by encouraging support of Black business. Over the years RBD targeted organizations, churches, and Fortune 500 corporations in an effort to enhance vending and contract business opportunities. They have also worked with banks and other funding groups to provide capital for the development and expansion of the Black business community.

The RBD Positive Side Awards are named after local civic and business leaders, community icons and religious and political trailblazers. The first Mervyn Dymally Political Award was presented to its namesake, California Assemblymember Mervyn M. Dymally.

Dymally, whose historical and ongoing political career began as a Field Coordinator for John F. Kennedy’s successful bid for the United States presidency, was California’s first Black State Senator and the first Black elected as Lieutenant Governor in the United States. He went on to become a member of the U.S. Congress and served as Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus and Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa.

Dymally is currently serving as the assemblymember for California’s 52nd Assembly District.

The Leon Garr Lifetime Achievement Award was awarded to 86-year-old Elbert T. Hudson, Esq., who has been “a stalwart, a drum major for justice, a warrior, a captain of industry, a husband and a father.” Joan N. Kerr, Executive Director of AT&T’s Supplier Diversity Program was the recipient of the Janice Bryant Howroyd Captain of Industry Award.

The Dr. Frederick K.C. Price Spirit of Excellence Award was presented to Pastor L. Craig Hays, “ gifted orator of the Word of God, a popular speaker and an individual who has worked in a number of areas related to HIV/AIDS ministries, alcohol and drug ministries, and is currently the Senior VP and Administrative Pastor on Price’s ministerial staff.

Jeanette Davis-Brown, owner and operator of J’nette’s Quality Cleaners in Gardena, California was the recipient of the Patsy Brown Small Business Award and actor Keith David, with an extraordinary range of talent and a broad body of work, was awarded the Marla Gibbs Entertainment Award.

The Muhammad Nassardeen President’s Award was given to Earl “Skip” Cooper, II, President and CEO of the Black Business Association, and quintessential advocate for Black Business Development. Tanya Walters-Ballard, creator and founder of GodParents Youth Organization, which has linked the role public transportation has played in the advancement of African American children in Los Angeles, received the Amina Nassardeen Youth Development Award.

Rev. Eric P. Lee, Executive Director of the Southern California Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Los Angeles (SCLC/LA) was awarded the Celes King Freedom Award for his organization leadership and vision as well as for the work he has done on behalf of Los Angeles area Security officers and helping to increase the enrollment of entering freshmen at UCLA.

Dr. Paul Goss, founder and president of New Body Products, which offers a complete line of holistic medicines, was awarded the Community Health and Wellness Award.

Chris and Katrina J. Schauble were jointly-awarded the Shirley and Bernard Kinsey Unity Award. Chris, co-anchor of NBC4’s morning news program, “Today in LA,” and his wife Katrina, currently the Director of Assessment and Special Projects for the San Gabriel School District, were selected by Nassardeen to be saluted for their collective work and social consciousness.

Following a lively and upbeat program, with RBD Staff members Bobby Glanton-Smith and Kitty Davis, serving as emcees, Willie J. Fann, Interim Director of RBD Communications, Inc. called for the continuation of Nassardeen’s legacy of supporting Black Business and thanked everyone in attendance, including the impressive list of event sponsors, “for helping to support Muhammad’s vision.”

In the commemorative program booklet for this year’s awards dinner, a quote from Nassardeen was captured along with his photograph and a short summary of some of his most significant accomplishments.

“Wisdom is one of the greatest resources we have to share. It is also one of the most underutilized. Each generation seems to want to do its’ own thing. We must strike a balance between the creativity of the young with the wisdom of our elders. It is this connection that will help us build a better future.” M. Nassardeen.