AURORA - The City of Aurora's African-American Heritage Advisory Board (AAHAB) will host its 12th Annual Heritage Dinner on Friday, February 26 at Gaslite Manor, 2485 Church Road, in Aurora. Social hour begins at 6 PM and dinner begins at 7 PM.
The crowning event of Black History Month
, this annual celebration will focus on young achievers who are succeeding at school and in the community; and fete AAHAB's 2016 Outstanding African-American of the Year, Aurora Police Lieutenant Keith Cross.
A graduate of East Aurora High School, Lieutenant Keith Cross has been a sworn officer of the Aurora Police Department for nearly 22 years. After joining the APD in 1994, Cross served in a number of positions, including a Community Oriented Police Officer, a School Resource Officer, and a D.A.R.E. / G.R.E.A.T. Instructor. Over two decades later, it is common to hear Cross' former students speak about how he helped to change the trajectory of their lives. In 2005, Cross was promoted to Sergeant. In 2008, he was promoted to his current position as Lieutenant.
Known for his consistent encouragement to others and a firm commitment to excellence, Cross has been a stalwart leader in law enforcement and in the greater Aurora community. He has served as the leader of the APD Honor Guard, Coordinator of the APD Crisis Hostage Negotiator Team and President of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives - Northern Illinois Chapter, where he has joined forces with other law enforcement agencies to facilitate workshops that strengthen police and community relations. In addition, he co-coordinated the 1st West Aurora Boys Basketball Feeder Program and has mentored and coach hundreds of children in the Fox Valley area.
"We are so honored to recognize Lt. Cross this year," said Patricia Holt, AAHAB Chairwoman. "He is a great example of what our Aurora youth can become with hard work and dedication. He is an officer and a gentleman."
AAHAB will also award high school students with the Henry Cowherd Scholarship named in honor of longtime community leader and 2008 Outstanding African-American of the Year, Mr. Henry Cowherd.
Tickets are $50 each, with a portion going to the Henry Cowherd Scholarship Fund. Tickets can be purchased online beginning February 1 at