Since 2001, the Broad College’s Multicultural Business Programs and corporate sponsor Altria Group Distribution have hosted the Multicultural Heroes Hall of Fame Case Competition in honor of Black History Month. The event is a way for students to learn about and celebrate leaders who have made an impact for equality and to compete to induct these heroes into the hall of fame.

“The case competition gives students an opportunity to educate their peers and the university community in a creative and engaging manner,” said Ann Crain, program coordinator for MBP, who orchestrated the event. “It was a success in the virtual format because of the student teams’ creative use of original video footage, images and archived videos. With coaching from many MSU and Broad technology staff, I was able to capture the spirit of the face-to-face event on a Zoom webinar.”

Despite this year’s event being held virtually, Spartan spirit was strong as the audience included more than 100 MSU community members who were eager to learn about new inductees as diverse as Afghan women’s rights activist Malala Yousafzai, American civil rights activist Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth and South African anti-apartheid activist Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. opened the webinar with enthusiastic remarks. “I think that the Broad College Multicultural Heroes Hall of Fame Case Competition is an innovative and impactful way to promote the Civil Rights Movement,” he said.

Thirteen teams, involving 39 undergraduate students from 16 academic majors, competed for a spot in the Feb. 17 final round. Twenty-one students made up the seven competing finalist teams, and instead of the live presentations that were featured in past events, each group produced a creative video.

Lee June, Vice President for Student Affairs and Services Emeritus and professor in the Honors College, Jabbar Bennett, MSU’s vice president and chief diversity officer, and Eli and Edythe L. Broad Dean Sanjay Gupta served as judges for the event.

They selected three winners based on their introductions, knowledge of their hero, linkage of their hero to Martin Luther King Jr. and overall technical presentation skills.

The first-place team — dubbed “The Dream Team” — presented about Damon J. Keith, a U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals judge who helped lead the fight for civil rights in Detroit and beyond. Broad Spartans Ashanti Golson, marketing junior, Foressia Hood, hospitality business junior, and Victoria Davis-King, supply chain management junior, presented a moving video about Keith’s legacy. This marks the third year that “The Dream Team” has competed together, and to Hood, “the best part has been doing it with my two closest friends.”

The second-place team, “Colores de Mexico,” featured Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla and emphasized the role that spirit plays in the fight for social justice. Like King in the United States, Hidalgo y Costilla used his words to spark perseverance and keep morale high during the Mexican War of Independence. Third place went to team “T.J.S.” for their creative presentation on Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to U.S. Congress and to run for president. The team shined a light on Chisholm’s bold and determined personality and ended by reciting her powerful poem about speaking up for what you believe in and never letting people shut you down.

“Each of the seven teams made highly impactful presentations and I must say, this was one of the best competitions I have had the privilege of judging in all of the years I have been at the Broad College,” Gupta said. “Events like this competition help foster a deeper learning and understanding of historical figures who have fought for equality and social justice, which in turn helps to strengthen our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion within our college and university communities.”

Bennett added his admiration for every single student who competed: “I’m honored to know that [this event] exists. It was so amazing to experience this in real time, just to see the thought that went into identifying these heroes.”

In addition, Broad Full-Time MBA students supported the event in a new collaboration by reviewing student teams’ videos and providing precise feedback on each of the six judging criteria. This work helped the undergraduate students improve their presentation skills and helped MBP decide which teams should advance to the final round of the competition.

Advocating for diversity, equity and inclusion is at the forefront of what it means to be a Spartan, and although there could only be three winners, all students who competed exemplify this Spartan spirit.

To see highlights from the 2021 virtual Multicultural Heroes Hall of Fame Case Competition, visit the Broad College’s YouTube page.