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By: Ford

◾Notable ambassadors with Ford's expanding Men of Courage program include music and tech investor Troy Carter, NFL all-pro DeAndre Levy, political commentator Van Jones and actor Hill Harper

◾Black men across United States are being challenged to download #MenofCourage digital tool kit and host gatherings to create positive social change in honor of #MLKDAY17

◾Dave Bing, Chicago-area Ford dealer Nate Sutton and others will co-host Men of Courage event for a diverse group of more than 50 black men this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 16

CHICAGO, Jan. 11, 2017 – Ford Motor Company is pulling together African American leaders from across the United States to make this year's Martin Luther King Jr. Day a day of action for advancing the narrative of black men and creating positive social change.

Through both an online Men of Courage tool kit and a daylong forum in Chicago, black men are uniting to tell their stories and develop strategies and solutions for challenging stereotypes while improving their economic and social status. Download the tool kit from Participants can also access #menofcourage for updates.

'Men of Courage enables African American men to unite behind a common mission of being great family men, innovators and barrier breakers through storytelling, visioning sessions and action pacts,' said Shawn Wilson, manager, multicultural community development, Ford Motor Company Fund. 'Dr. King often spoke about poverty as the root cause for many of our social ills. I'm excited to hear the solutions we develop in Chicago and around the U.S. that will benefit not just African American men — but all of our communities.'

The Men of Courage event honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. takes place Jan. 16, 2-9 p.m., at 1871, Technology & Entrepreneurship Center, suite 1212 of Merchandise Mart.

A cross-section of African American men will gather to share stories and experiences as well as to create action plans. Participants include Nate Sutton, owner of Sutton Ford Lincoln in Matteson, Illinois; NBA legend and former Detroit mayor Dave Bing; linebacker DeAndre Levy from the Detroit Lions; NFL Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis; educator Barrington Irving, the youngest person to pilot a plane around the world solo; Bill Pickard, founder Global Automotive Group; Dr. Anthony Hamlet, superintendent of Pittsburgh Public Schools; and author and criminal justice advocate Shaka Senghor.

Joe Madison, who discusses race, politics and social activism with a national audience on his daily SiriusXM show, will broadcast live from the Chicago Men of Courage forum from 7-9 p.m. CT. During the broadcast, Joe will speak with attendees and air recorded moments from earlier in the day to bring focus to positive African American male role models, whether they are celebrities or 'every day citizens.' 'Joe Madison The Black Eagle' is on SiriusXM's Urban View, channel 126.

Ford has enlisted African American leaders from across media, political, technology, sports and music arenas to encourage black men to host similar events in their homes, houses of worship and workplaces nationwide. Notable leaders include political commentator Van Jones; music and tech investor Troy Carter; musician and rapper Big Sean; and actor Hill Harper. So far, 1,300 groups and individuals have organized gatherings to take place in Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas.

Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, launched Men of Courage in Detroit in August 2015, aiming to connect diverse black men from local communities with a growing list of advocates and celebrities working to create positive social change for African American men. Ford Fund has joined with Sean Anderson Foundation and Dave Bing Youth Institute to promote Men of Courage.

The program expanded to Baltimore last year for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, then Atlanta for the 2016 Father's Day weekend at the 100 Black Men of America National Conference.

Interview opportunities for the Chicago event are available 2-7 p.m., with the exception of 3-4:30 p.m., when there will be a closed-door session. For media requests or to RSVP for media credentials, please contact Melody McDowell, 312.371.8917.

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