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2016 Ford Freedom Unsung Award Winner Announced

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Ford today announced the winner of the 2016 Ford Freedom Unsung award, which was announced earlier this year in partnership with the Tom Joyner Foundation as a means to honor those making a difference in the African American community.

The winner of this year’s award is Sylvester Lee of Belleville, Illinois. Lee successfully rehabilitated a one-time school building in East St. Louis to become the Sunshine Cultural Arts Center, which works to enrich the lives of youths in the community through arts, culture, and education.

“I am truly humbled and honored to receive such a prestigious award,” said Lee. “This is a wonderful opportunity. Regardless of recognition or notoriety, I will continue to teach and inspire the youth in my community.”

Because of Lee’s commitment to bettering the world around him, he has earned a trip for two on the 2016 Fantastic Voyage, where he will formally accept the honor of being this year’s Ford Freedom Unsung Hero. The 2016 Fantastic Voyage will take place later this month with Ford serving the role of presenting sponsor.

“Ford has a legacy of honoring African American achievement,” said Pamela Alexander, director, community development, Ford Motor Company Fund. “We commend Sylvester for his decades of work and commitment to inspiring and empowering youth, and the East St. Louis community.”

2016 marks the first year that the Ford Freedom Unsung program has gone national. In the past four years, celebrations have taken place in Atlanta, Georgia; SoCal and the San Francisco Bay Area; Anchorage, Alaska; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Kansas City, Missouri.