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When Sue Ellen Zhang got the call that she was going to be featured in The Philadelphia Tribune’s list of Philadelphia’s Most Influential African Americans, she wasn’t sure if it was real or a prank.

“I had to make sure that they had the right person when I got the phone call. A lot of the time when we are going through life, doing what we’re doing, we try to be helpful and touch other people’s lives in a way that is meaningful both to them and myself,” Zhang said.

She was excited to be included in the Tribune’s “10 People Under 40 to Watch in 2019.”

On Tuesday, the Tribune honored the “10 Under 40,” “Movers and Shakers,” “African-American Leaders” and “Foundation Leaders” at its annual event.

Nearly 400 people came out in some of their finest clothes for the celebration.

Tribune President and Publisher Robert W. Bogle set the tone for the evening at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and reminded the crowd why events like this one are so important.

“Tonight, we recognize people who have the power to influence change in our community,” he said. “Their success exemplifies a tireless work ethic that inspires us all.”

The inspiring honorees include athletes, business owners, community activists, politicians, educators and religious leaders.

Bogle encouraged the crowd to “support those who support you.”

“It’s funny to be recognized,” said Ariell Johnson, another of the “10 Under 40” and owner of Amalgam Comics

“For me, what I’m doing now has been a passion project for so long. You know once you get it off the ground, you want it to be successful, not ever thinking that you’re going to be acknowledged individually for your work. It’s a little surreal and humbling. I don’t think it has really sunk in.”

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