4 Caribbean islands will be highlighted during Black History Month event this week

The seventh annual Black History Month event put on by the North Long Beach based Andy Street Community Association will highlight four Caribbean islands at the Expo Arts Center this week.

The “Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow” three-day event will include art, dance, music, food, panel discussions and the recognition of community leaders starting Thursday, Jan. 31.

“It’s really an education and multicultural experience I try to bring every year so the whole community can enjoy,” said Andy Street’s Executive Director LaVerne Duncan.

This year, the event will feature exhibits focusing on the Caribbean islands of Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, along with Saint Croix, a U.S. territory in the Virgin Islands.

The festivities begin at 6 p.m. on Thursday with a welcome reception hosted by the LGBTQ Center of Long Beach and Black Lesbians United. RSVPs are encouraged.

Complete schedule of events for the seventh annual Black History Month event “Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow” taking place at the Expo Arts Center Jan. 31-Feb 2.

The only paid activity is a CEO Diversity Awards luncheon on Friday that will cost $25 per person. Duncan said most of the money will go toward the purchase of the food, with the remaining funds going to Andy Street’s youth programs that focus on leadership, entrepreneurship, art and health.

On Friday evening, Councilman Al Austin, whose district office is inside the Expo Arts Center, will officially open two exhibits, Caribbean Heritage and Forgotten Images, featuring nearly 1,000 artifacts spanning centuries of the African American experience.

Long Beach community leaders from various sectors will also be honored in a “Wall of Excellence,” Duncan said. The late Long Beach State hall of famer, police detective and LGBT advocate Kimberly Maddox will also be honored.

Saturday will be a “youth day” of sorts, said Duncan, with musical performances by students from Long Beach Unified School District, the Jack & Jill organization, 100 Black Men, Wilson High School’s Black Scholars and Hughes Middle School Young Gifted & Black.

A three-part panel discussion focusing on African American leadership, education and employment as well as public health will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with an opening performance by Derrell Acon of Long Beach Opera at 10:30 a.m.

The panel will include CSULB President Jane Close Conoley, Long Beach Economic Development Director John Keisler, St. Mary Medical Center CEO Carolyn Caldwell and retired UCLA professor Alex Norman among others.

To RSVP for the events click here.

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Stephanie Rivera is the immigration and diversity reporter for the Long Beach Post. Growing up as one of six kids in the working-class immigrant suburb of South Gate, she was taught the importance of civic engagement and to show compassion for others. After graduating from CSULB with a degree in journalism, Stephanie worked for Patch Latino and City News Service before coming to the Long Beach Post in 2015. An avid Harry Potter fan, Stephanie now lives in Bixby Knolls with her boyfriend and their bearded dragon, Austin.
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