Several Baltimore activists were honored Saturday at an event called "Power of the Dollar" held at Morgan State University.
The black-tie gala recognized Zachary McDaniels, an activist with the Philanthropik foundation; A. Dwight Pettit, a Baltimore civil rights attorney; and Heal a Woman to Heal a Nation Inc., a women's empowerment nonprofit.
Bilal Ali, a community liaison to the Western District in the Office of the State's Attorney for Baltimore City, said the event honored those "who often don't get credit" but are local leaders who represent the day-to-day "boots on the ground" to help the community.
"When people speak and do things from the heart, it touches others hearts," Ali said.
The featured speaker was Boyce Watkins, a former finance professor at Syracuse University who has since built an online educational business and travels around the country giving motivational speeches mostly to African American audiences.
In an interview with the Baltimore Sun, Watkins said his message in Baltimore and elsewhere centers around "the importance of wealth building and cooperative economics."
He said it's important for black businesses and leaders to support each other.
The purpose of the gathering was to connect "black business with black policy," said organizer Abdul Salaam, president of KEYS Development TA, a mental health counseling organization.
Salaam said proceeds of the gala will benefit youth empowerment projects such as field trips to New York and Washington, D.C. that take inner city youth outside the community and expose them different environments and opportunities.