Approximately 200 youth and young adults attended the Phoenix College NAACP/BSU’s 2016 MLK Youth Celebration this past Saturday, January 30, with the date reinforcing their theme 30 for 30 Annual MLK Youth Celebration Edition. Student president Toure’ Masters and Advisor Dr Camilla Westenberg provided the event’s opening welcomes, and state NAACP President Charles Fanniel gave words of encouragement to the audience.
A brief account of the history of Arizona’s road to having a state adopted holiday was provided and a jacket from the MLK Youth Celebration’s 1996 Super Bowl was displayed. The day’s program also included a cappella rendition of the Black National Anthem by Lyece Ramsey and Darrien Wilson.
Little Miss African American Mariah Hall provided an exquisite dance and Miss Maricopa County Juanita Rogers and Miss Maricopa County’s Outstanding Teen Braxton Andrew spoke to the students about developing leadership skills and engaging in community service.
Four workshops were geared to the various ages and special interest of the attendees:
Grades K – 3 “The Legacy of Dr. King” was facilitated by the African American Diversity Group of American Airlines and the JW Robinson Black Fire Fighters Association
Grades 4 – 6 “ Bullying, Do You Fit the Mold?” was facilitated by Ms. Chanette Campbell
Grades 7 – 8 “Your Social Blueprint” was facilitated by Ms. Brittanee Perkins, Miss Black Arizona 2009 and Mr. Jabari Johnson
Grades 9 – College “Social Change & Its Impact on You” was facilitated by Danny White, Mesa Community College professor, and workshop panelists Ms. Louanna Faine from The Beat 101 FM, community leader and activist Rev. Jarrett Maupin, Baltz Elementary School District board member Ms. Channel Powe, and Mrs. Collette Watson from the Urban League Young Professionals.
The students re-convened and two student representatives from each workshop gave a brief overview of their workshop content. Finally, Captain Anthony Barnes of the South Phoenix Salvation Army Kroc Corps Community Center provided a wrap-up of the workshop sessions.
The afternoon session was devoted to entertainment provided by various young community performers, which included vocalists, poets, dancers, and musicians. The stage band Color 8 provided entertainment throughout the day, and the entertainment master of ceremonies were Billy Ramsey and Darnell Hill.
As an extra feature, this year the organization hosted an event the night before the rally. A showing of the play Freedom Summer was performed by the South Phoenix Youth Center – Project BRAVE Studio Workshop. The play was directed by Rod Ambrose, the center’s director.
The event was coordinated by Dr. Camilla Westenberg and Billy Ramsey and is one of the Arizona Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee’s events.