In addition to celebrating this year's finalists and announcing the ten winners, the 72nd Annual All-America City Awards also recognized winners of the John Parr Youth Leadership Award, Social Media and Online Outreach Award, and Cultural Entertainment and Civic Action Fair competitions. We were blown away by the inspiring and spirited entries into these supplemental awards.
Thanks to our friends at Southwest Airlines, the official airline of the All-America City Awards for the past 13 years, all of this year's winners will receive a complimentary roundtrip flight!
John Parr Youth Leadership Award
The John Parr Youth Leadership Award was created to honor a former National Civic League President, John Parr. John was president of the League for ten years, from 1986-1995, during which the League thrived, growing into its Denver headquarters and increasing its focus on civic engagement. This award recognizes extraordinary civic engagement and leadership on the part of a young person in their community.
The 2021 winners are Maya Bhola from Miramar, FL and Justice Horn from Kansas City, MO. Maya developed a friendly mental health group that allows participants to openly discuss emotions and life challenges, and volunteered at food drives during the pandemic. Justice was recognized for his advocacy for racial equity, law enforcement reform, tenant/houseless equity, and environmental sustainability.
Social Media and Online Outreach Award
The Social Media Award is given for the best use of social media and online platforms as a finalist for the 2021 All-America City Award. This award celebrates the community that creatively shared the AAC experience with members of their community and other AAC communities across the country.
The 2021 social media award winner was Sumter, SC. Sumter creatively used multiple platforms to engage residents and fellow finalists throughout the 2021 All-America City Award's season. Sumter highlighted unique parts of their community, showcased partners and shared the projects featured in their application and presentation. Congratulations, team Sumter! Check out some of their social media buzz here!
Cultural Entertainment Showcase
Typically, one evening of the All-America City awards event is dedicated to a cultural entertainment showcase. Finalist communities bring local talent to the AAC main stage in Denver. Acts have featured step teams, high school jazz bands and mariachi bands, dance troops, slam poets, singers and more.
Since going virtual, communities have submitted videos of local artists which are made available on the virtual event platform. Event attendees view the videos and vote on their favorite. This year the winners were Kimmie Horne Jazz Festival from Southfield, MI and Livermore Kids Teach Shakespeare from Livermore, CA.
Civic Action Fair
The Civic Action Fair gives communities an opportunity to tell their story to fellow finalists and other event attendees. In lieu of an in-person event, each community put together a virtual booth. Booths featured virtual tours of communities, pictures, videos and descriptions of featured projects, welcome messages from elected officials and more. Finalists and other attendees voted for their favorite booth, and this year's winner was El Paso, Texas!
El Paso's virtual booth featured videos of local artists and pictures, descriptions and videos from some of the inspiring work happening in the city. Take a look at El Paso's and other finalist's booths here (code: LEAGUE Friend).
Congratulations to all of this year's winners. Your handwork, community spirit and creativity brought this year's event to life!