Jason and Tiffany Dunn and their children Mya and Jason II are the 2018 Midwest Regional Black Family of the Year. Photo provided

By the 2018 Midwest Regional

Black Family Reunion Team

The 2018 Midwest Regional Black Family of the Year goes to the Dunn Family. Jason and Tiffany officially established their family in 2003 after the two graduated from the University of Cincinnati. They have two children. Mya and Jason II. In total, these four make it a point to excel and represent Cincinnati well on all fronts, and they truly live to this year’s theme of “A People of Purpose.’’

When asked how it felt about being named Family of the Year, Jason said, “To be honest we were shocked. I think we called Tracy (Artis, the BFR organizer) three times to make sure she had the right Dunn family. In our eyes, we are a young family focused on providing the best life for our kids and playing our part in helping Cincinnati reach its full potential.”

Tiffany Dunn was born in Youngstown, Ohio, and came to the University of Cincinnati as a Darwin T. Turner and Cincinnatus Scholar. She earned her bachelors of science in nursing from UC’s College of Nursing, graduating magna cum laude. She would later go on to Case Western Reserve University and earn a master of science degree in nursing with a concentration in nurse anesthesia.

“Jason and I were both surprised, but at the same time humbled,” said Tiffany when asked about her reaction to being named Family of the Year. “We both have worked so hard and to be recognized by our community is no small feat. Mya is more interested in what kind of a car we will be riding in during the parade. Our son was excited to see himself in the paper. He wonders if he can take his toys in the car during the parade.”

Tiffany is a proud member of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, Jack and Jill of America Inc., Cincinnati Chapter, The Cincinnati Chapter of the Links Inc., as well as the Ohio Association of Nurse Anesthetists. She is a certified registered nurse anesthetist at Seven Hills Anesthesia.

Jason Dunn was born in Columbus. Ohio. He holds the position of vice president of multicultural sales & community development at the Cincinnati USA Conventions & Visitors Bureau, making him the first African American vice president at CVB. He has been credited with leading initiatives like Vibe Cincinnati, the Dan Lincoln Cincinnati USA Institute for Hospitality Leadership, State of Black Tourism (during the Congressional Black Caucus), Throwback Thursday during the Cincinnati Music Festival weekend and many other initiatives that help to position Cincinnati as a welcoming destination.

Under Jason’s leadership, Cincinnati has earned some of the most high profile multicultural conventions in the country. He also serves as vice president of the National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners (first ever supplier to serve in that role), board of the directors for African American Chamber of Commerce, chair of the Cincinnati Police Foundation and as a member of the Prince Hall Masons. He served as chair of the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority for four years and chaired the local committee that brought the 107th National NAACP Convention to Cincinnati.

When asked why he thinks spotlighting a Black family in Cincinnati is so important, Jason said, “Cincinnati has some very real issues that disproportionately affect the Black community. Often these issues are sensationalized via stereotypical perceptions that are universally accepted and inaccurately portrayed without context. The Black family is the bedrock of Black empowerment. Positive images and honoring the Black family gives hope. It instills pride and feeds an unmistakable desire to uphold the majesty of the Black experience. Simply put, outside of the church, it’s the last institution we have as a community.”

Mya Dunn is a sophomore at St. Ursula Academy, where she serves as a school ambassador, and a member of the orchestra and track team. Mya is also a youth docent at the National Underground Railroad Freedom center. She’s interested in pursuing a degree in medicine.

Jason Dunn II attends preschool at Zion Temple Christian Academy, where he was recently earned the Citizenship Award. His favorite superheroes are Spiderman and Black Panther.

Jason Dunn said he hopes his children learn from this experience that, “To be honored by your community, sometimes means more than traditional honors. I want them to understand that no matter how much money you have or what title you have, a person must have roots to fully blossom. The truth is, there is no Dunn family without the people who nurtured our growth.”

When it comes to his hope for the future of the Black family, he referred to a quote. “Carter G Woodson said it best: ‘I am ready to act, if I can find brave men to help me.’ We hope for all the things that we would want: financial stability, opportunities to create positive memories, to be able to smile and breath without fear of our vulnerabilities being exposed, equity and access”

He added, “The future of the Black family in Cincinnati is at a fork in the road. We must choose to either think big and act accordingly or accept mediocrity and stand idle.

The Dunn family will be recognized at the Opening Ceremony and Heritage Breakfast on Friday, August 17, 2018. It takes place from 9-10:30 a.m. at Word of Deliverance Church (693 Fresno Road) in Forest Park. The doors open at 8:30 a.m. Dr. Elliott Cuff, the senior pastor of Lincoln Heights Missionary Baptist Church will serve as the keynote speaker.

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