Black Lives Matter NH Announces 2024 BLM New Hampshire Excellence Awards Ceremony

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Ronelle Tshiela

BLM New Hampshire to honor Black, Brown, and Indigenous community members who have contributed significantly to New Hampshire

Manchester, NH – Black Lives Matter New Hampshire invites you to attend our 4th Annual BLM New Hampshire Excellence Awards Ceremony! This year marks the first Excellence Awards ceremony that we host as an official state-wide organization, and we could not be more excited! 

Join us on Saturday, April 20th, 2024, at 5:00 PM at the Currier Museum in Manchester, New Hampshire, as we recognize and honor seven Black, Indigenous, and Person of Color community members from all walks of life who are going above and beyond to make New Hampshire a more diverse and inclusive region.

Ronelle Tshiela, the Southern New Hampshire Director and Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter New Hampshire said of Black Lives Matter New Hampshire hosting the awards: “We are so honored to recognize these individuals who have made such a profound impact on the New Hampshire community. This event will exemplify the importance of leadership in our Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities. The impact that these leaders have had can not be overstated. Congratulations!” 

Lionel Loveless, a current Board member of Business Alliance for People of Color New Hampshire and Black Lives Matter New Hampshire, and the owner of Officially Knotted Bowties in Stratham, New Hampshire, will host the event.

The event will feature an incredible Keynote Speaker, Flo Nicolas, a lawyer, emerging technology thought leader, and global contributing author, bringing a wealth of expertise to our event. As the Founder and Chief Data and Innovation Strategist at Get Tech Smart, Flo is at the forefront of utilizing data analytics for project assessment, ensuring successful outcomes.

Flo’s commitment to driving positive change extends beyond her professional achievements. She actively advocates for access to STEAM education, supports women in tech, and champions diversity in the tech industry. Recognized with prestigious awards such as the NH Business Review Outstanding Women in Business 2023 and the NH Tech Alliance Tech Professional of the Year 2023, Flo’s impact is undeniable.

At the 2024 BLM New Hampshire Excellence Awards, we will honor seven remarkable individuals! 

Coyijocalyeea Grimes

Coyijocalyeea Grimes is our Youth Trailblazer Award winner! Coyijocalyeea Grimes is an emerging youth leader from Manchester, NH. Coyijocalyeea grew up in the system and has dealt with systemic racism from a very young age. These challenging experiences have taught her to be strong, resilient, and compassionate. She hopes to use her lived experience to spread love and support other Black women and girls navigating challenging life circumstances. Coyijocalyeea is part of the AFSC NH Voter Engagement leadership team, working to engage new voters in Manchester and Concord who are young adults from historically marginalized communities, particularly BIPOC, immigrant, low-income, and formerly incarcerated, by focusing on the issues that are important to them and the importance of voting as a tool for much-needed change.

Tinotenda Duche

Tinotenda Duche is our Collegiate Brilliance as an Undergraduate Student Award winner! Tinotenda Duche’s journey began in Zimbabwe, where she was born, and continued as she was raised in Botswana. In 2011, she embarked on a new chapter by immigrating to the United States. Currently a senior at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) in Durham, Tinotenda is a senior pursuing a major in Biochemistry and minoring in Women in Gender Studies, with a passion for bridging the gap between science and social justice. She has served as a Resident Assistant (RA) for two years and currently holds the position of Assistant Hall Director in one of the university’s largest freshman dormitories. 

Additionally, she serves as an ambassador for Buddies Without Borders, fostering meaningful connections between international and domestic students. Tinotenda also serves as the Chair of the Black Student Union (BSU), striving to cultivate spaces of inclusivity and belonging for Black students and people of color. Through BSU, she endeavors to provide support, education, and a platform for dialogue on black identity and experience.

Shantel Palacio

Shantel Palacio is our Ground Breaker in Graduate Studies Award winner! Shantel Palacio is a doctoral candidate in Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of New Hampshire. She is also a Principal Advisor at Urbane Advisory and a consulting partner at the Perception Institute. Her community work and policy research have been featured across several mediums, including NPR, GQ Japan Magazine, West’s Education Law Reporter, The Gotham Film and Media Institute, and citations in Harvard’s IOP. 

Diannely Antigua

Diannely Antigua is our Excellence in Artistry Award winner! Diannely Antigua is a Dominican American poet and educator, born and raised in Massachusetts. Her debut collection, Ugly Music (YesYes Books, 2019), won the Pamet River Prize and a 2020 Whiting Award. Her second poetry collection, Good Monster, is forthcoming with Copper Canyon Press in 2024. She received her BA in English from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where she won the Jack Kerouac Creative Writing Scholarship. She received her MFA at NYU, where she was awarded a Global Research Initiative Fellowship to Florence, Italy. She received additional fellowships from CantoMundo, Community of Writers, Fine Arts Work Center Summer Program, and was a finalist for the 2021 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and chosen for The Best of the Net Anthology. You can find her poems in Poem-a-Day, Poetry, The American Poetry Review, Washington Square Review, The Adroit Journal, and many other places. She currently teaches in the MFA Writing Program at the University of New Hampshire as the inaugural Nossrat Yassini Poet in Residence. She hosts the podcast Bread & Poetry and is the Poet Laureate of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the youngest and first person of color to receive the title. In 2023, she was awarded an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship to launch The Bread & Poetry Project

Tina Kim Philibotte 

Tina Kim Philibotte is our Academic Leader Award winner! Tina Kim Philibotte is an abolitionist educator committed to nurturing liberating spaces for youth and community. Tina joined the Manchester School District in July 2021 as the district’s first Chief Equity Officer. Tina co-founded the NH Educators of Color Affinity Group and leads efforts to support the humanity of BIPOC teachers across the state. Tina recently received the NAACP Manchester’s Excellence in Education award, as well as the NH MLK Coalition’s Social Justice Warrior award.  Tina received her BA and Master’s Degree in Education from Plymouth State University and is currently a doctoral candidate in Boston University’s Educational Leadership & Policy Studies program. 

As a choreographer, dancer, and director, Tina founded one of the only concert dance programs in a public high school in New Hampshire. Tina leveraged dance as a vehicle to engage youth mentorship, healthy relationships, wellness and nutrition, and build community. She was featured in Dance Teacher Magazine and NH Chronicle for her ability to create inclusive community performances. She is currently working with the NH Dance Collaborative to produce a culturally responsive musical theatre production for BIPOC youth at no cost. Tina is a mother, partner, writer, gardener, reluctant beekeeper, mother of cats, and dreams of opening an abolitionist bookstore in her next act.

Sarah Krzyzanowski

Sarah Krzyzanowski is our Outstanding Business Owner Award winner! Sarah found yoga while training for her first marathon. She looked to yoga as just another part of her training regimen, but after her first class, she realized it would become much more. Yoga changed the way Sarah breathed and looked at herself and the world around her. After some time learning techniques and repetition, she wanted to share this newly found gift of harmony with others.

A native New Yorker, Sarah received her RYT 200 cerMary Dana Abbot’s tutelage in 2015. In 2021, Sarah completed her Katonah Yoga ® certification and started Sarah K Yoga LLC. Sarah believes in the power of personal practice and communal practice as essential for personal and communal well-being.

Sarah instructs privately and is grateful to teach weekly with Yoga on York in York Maine and Prasada Yoga Center in North Hampton, NH. When Sarah is not on the mat, you can find her jogging around the New Hampshire/Maine Seacoast, baking pies or on the beach with her husband Steve, son Axel and daughter Lucy.

Journee LaFond

Journee LaFond is our Community Impact Leader Award winner! Journee LaFond (they/them) is a social worker, podcast producer, model, drag performer, event organizer and restorative justice advocate. Journee has a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of New Hampshire and serves as a mental health and DEIJ consultant. They have had the privilege to work with youth and families with varied behavioral and mental health concerns at the individual level as well as lobby for policy change around mental health issues. They have worked closely with marginalized youth since 2011 and host events to create a sense of community for LGBTQIA+ people and People of Color, from networking and the monthly Free Range Revue variety show, to the Decolonize and Discover Festival which highlights the need for accessible, inclusive spaces for Disabled, BIPOC and Queer communities. 

Journee has the distinct honor of being canonized by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, taking on the title of the “Saint of the Onyx Journey.” It is Journee’s goal to eradicate stigma and stereotypes around what it means to be multiply marginalized and to promote equity for historically oppressed groups.

As an organization, we look forward to this event every year as an incredible opportunity to single out the individuals in our community who deserve to be recognized and celebrated for their role in creating a better state in which we can all thrive.To get tickets and learn more about the event, go to!

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