High atop the city on Saturday night Feb. 27 Syracuse's Alliance Network (AN) was on track "Empowering Generation Next." The event was strategically timed before the start of the SU men's basketball romp with Villanova. Its 13th annual awards were given out on the upper most floor of the Renaissance Hotel with a live orchestra playing R&B hits and guest politicians lending their voices toward the AN effort to the back drop of a formal social mixer.
The AN began in 1996 when local leaders in the African American and people of color communities came together with business leaders, local activists and politicians to work on the combined needs of social, economic and physical welfare of all its citizens with an emphasis on youth. It's founder Walter Dixie wrote, "The Alliance Network is simply a group of ordinary people who are committed to extraordinary change."
Urban CNY editor, Ken Jackson, was in the house, he had this to say of Walter "Walt" Dixie:
"There are some who've doubted Walt Dixie's effectiveness as a leader. Just the act of gathering a representative cross section of this community, a congressman, an assemblywoman, Mayor Miner, current and past members of the Syracuse Common Council and Onondaga County Legislature, proves his critics wrong. Being a leader means being up front facilitating change. That's Walt Dixie walking in front while everybody else is taking notes. That's what a leader does," Jackson said (who is also a former Onondaga County Legislator).
Sharon Owens was on as the Mistress of Ceremony. "This room gives us and advantage to see how beautiful our city truly is." She went on to warn the crowd that if we speak death and demise in our city; that is what we will get. But if we instead speak growth and prosperity, it will surely follow.