Black History Month is celebrated around the country each year during the month of February. Beginning in 1926, it was initially called the Negro History Week and was celebrated for just one week in February, until 1976 when Carter Godwin Woodson extended the celebrations for the full month to commemorate America’s bicentennial celebration.
Every year, Riverside House sets aside a day in February to celebrate with staff, clients, and our various partners. This year, we were assisted by a marketing director, Ahbria Marshall, who voluntarily offered her services and professional expertise to make this a magnificent event for our Riverside Family.
Chaplain Henton kicked off the event by welcoming everyone to Riverside House. He began by giving information about the historical origin of Black History month, and he briefly spoke about the profound influence that black Americans contributed to American history. After the welcome, Chaplain Henton conducted an opening prayer followed by everyone standing for the Negro National anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” written by James Weldon Johnson originally as a poem. One of our guests, spoken word artist, Tammy Unlimited, spoke and sang a relevant tune expressing the struggles of black Americans in the United States of America. In addition, Miss Tammy gave a word that encouraged our residents to want to be better and love themselves.
After Miss Tammy’s beautiful speech, Mr. Henton offered some facts about black American pioneers such as Madam C.J. Walker and Barak Obama, and how they are strong influences not just in black history but global history. Our marketing partner, Ms. Marshall, was able to get a wonderful guest motivational speaker, Mr. Leo Criossy, to join us for the event. Mr. Leo spoke from a returning citizen perspective and told all the residents that they are made to succeed as long as they keep God first. He also spoke about how he made up in his mind that he did not want to be “another statistic,” and with God’s help, he opened his own cell phone store and recording studio. Mr. Leo has committed to giving back by helping our residents with the skill of fixing broken phones.
Lastly, we were humbled to have the world renown Rebecca “Butterfly” Vaughn come and bless us with spoken word from her heart. Ms. Vaughn has performed at the Hard Rock Stadium, for commissioners in the state of Florida, and for a variety of schools, churches, and even the president of the United States. (nazarethlivingcenter.org) In Ms. Vaughn’s spoken word, she spoke life into the lives of all that were present. She began by speaking about the history of black Americans in this country, then followed with words about the present situation of our residents, and she revealed hope through her words for the future path of everyone in attendance.
As a token of appreciation, all our speakers were given a certificate of appreciation and a card with a kind donation in it. Those who contributed to the success of this Black History program include the following: Culinary Affairs, Impact Entertainment (DJ), BJOU BJOU African clothing distributor, Ahbria Marshall, Tammy Unlimited, and Rebecca “Butterfly” Vaughn. Also, we are thankful for the staff and residents who assisted with the set-up and breakdown of the social hall to create an ambiance that was befitting for such a great event. Most of all, we are so grateful to our Heavenly Father who gives all of us the strength to coordinate, and by His grace work in this capacity.
Next event will be our Easter service at RUMC on March 28th at 6:30 pm. Have a blessed day!!