Correction: An earlier version of this story had the incorrect photos attached and have been removed
Long Beach City College had its first “Rise: A celebration of Black Heritage” event held on Thursday Feb. 21 in honor of celebrating the black community and all its accomplishments.
The event took place from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the T building, celebrating by having a dance performance by LBCC dancers, a distinguished panel with four speakers and a variety of food for guests to enjoy.
Lee Douglas, dean of Language Arts and Communication and coordinator of the event said, “We wanted to do something to celebrate black heritage and bring the campus community together, to honor the past, to celebrate the present, and to really reflect on what’s going to happen in the future.”
The beginning of the event held a reception presenting the four panelist speakers, former Long Beach City Council AL Austin II, John Howard, Owner/Operator of Chick-fil-A at Long Beach Towne Center, Tasha W. Hunter, president of the Arts Council for Long Beach, Donnell Jones, Student Trustee for Long Beach , and Sharon McLucas, owner of the “Forgotten Images” exhibit.
LBCC students and other guests attended the event, students like Senay Kenfe said, “I’m a supporter of black history month and I try to come to things that are related on campus.”
“I come to these kind of things to see the younger students on campus, their investment, their own culture and community and see how these events bring out the youth, and how I as an older person can connect the dots and where we can shift this energy and participation into.”
The event also had a display that showed several historical artifacts that honored Africa, African American traditions, and historical folks that had contributed to the black community.
Not only was there a dance performance by LBCC students but also a sing along, where everyone joined together to sing the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by James Weldon Johnson, which is often referred to as the “Black National Anthem.”
The event lead to panel discussions that were monorated by student Maya Smith and Ramon Knox dean of Student Support Services.
Guests were able to talk about their own perspectives on what financial literacy meant to them and other topics that were announced.
Panelist Tasha W. Hunter spoke about her own black awakening, “I remember seeing my mother in the mirror patting her fro, dancing before she would head to work everyday and seeing that reflection of who she is was my black awakening.”
Topics that were brought up during the panel discussion spoke about inclusivity in the black community, equity, black awakening, financial literacy, and prison in the black community.