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Black History Celebration

By: Victoria L. Moore

Date Posted: 1998-02-07

February is a time to reflect on African American History. The Kadena Black Heritage Committee, hosts the African-American Heritage Month Celebration. This year the theme, African American's in Business; "The passport to Empowerment" focuses on developing, contributing, and succeeding African Americans in business. Each year the theme is set by the National Headquarters of ASALH, (Association for the study of Afro-American Life and History).

The committee on Kadena Air Base involved the entire Okinawan and American community. Although most of the events are scheduled on Kadena, the events are opened to the public. The emphasis this year will be on African-American Business, in Okinawa. Business Seminars are scheduled each Monday night, at Schilling Community Center at 7 p.m.. The seminar committee chairperson, Larry Wright, stated 'this will be an immense opportunity for people interested in establishing a business.' Interested participants can learn how to get started, merchandising, and receive guidance for investments, just to name a few. It will also be a tremendous situation for business networking.

The theme of the Gospel Festival, slated for 7 Feb at Kadena Chapel One, focuses on the history of Gospel music, from slavery to the present. The event features 18 different groups, choirs and individuals from all over the island. The event hopes to recognize contributions of past and present African-American pioneers, in the Gospel Music Industry.

There is a Children's Essay Contest planned. The contest topic is "An African American business person or inventor" past or present. Each student must provide the name of the founder of Black History Month, the original name given to the celebration, and the year the celebration began. Contestants may receive actual format guidelines, from their school.

Essays are judged from 3rd - 12 grade with awards given to each grade level. Each essay must be turned in by 12 Feb. The judging will commence on 17 Feb. Individuals interested in volunteering for judging the event may contact Sherman R. Carter at 932-9702. Contestants will be awarded at the Expo on the 28th Feb at Schilling Community Center. The Art competition is for age group K -- 2 grade, and the theme is the same as the essay competition. The focus for these events is to further educate our students about the contributions African Americans made in business and inventions throughout history.

The reading and story telling program concentrates on educating youth about African American literature.

This year the reading program is geared toward elementary students. The program is held every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at all Marine Corp. Elementary schools and several of the Air Force schools as well.

The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) will host a Freedom Fund Banquet on 13th Feb, at the Kadena Officers Club beginning at 6 p.m. This years' keynote speaker will be Chaplain Paul Anderson. For more information and tickets contact Larry Wright at 632-3531 or Victoria Moore at 633-3048.

Celebration of the Arts, scheduled for the 21st Feb, at the Kadena Officers Club, provides an insight to African American contribution to the Arts. It emphasizes poetry, dance and music starting from slavery through the present.

The parade scheduled for the 28th of the month will start at the Kadena USO at 10 a.m.. An estimated 30 organizations and several hundred individuals are slated to participate in this years' event. The parade is the culmination of the celebration, expressing the communities' unity and pride of African American Heritage. Groups interested in joining parade should call Mr. Hollis at 633-1610.

The Black Expo, scheduled to begin following the parade on the 28th Feb, highliTAghts success in black businesses. Vendor booths will be located both inside and outside the Schilling Community Center on Kadena. The program is geared toward the family with international entertainment, including dance groups from different countries, such as Africa, Mexico, Philippines, Okinawa, and America, Karate demonstrations, motivational speakers, music, and a Bump and Jump for the kids. There will be an array of information on business concepts and application. The Essay and Art contest will also be awarded during this event. For more information contact Ms. Fauntleroy at 633-6060.

The committee members have collectively worked to promote the study and recognition of African American contributions to history. They welcome the public to attend and participate in this culturally enriching event.

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