Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Highlights from the 39th Annual Wichita Black Arts Festival

The 39th annual Wichita Black Arts festival closed yesterday. More than 6,500 people attended this years festivities. The Branch hosted a membership table, an information table with facts and literature about becoming a foster parent, and a voter registration booth.

This year's celebration began with the third annual Umoja 5K walk/run. The run was co-sponsored by the Wichita Branch NAACP Health Committee, the Wichita Black Arts Festival Committee, and Via Christi Health Systems. 117 people from the community came out and ran the course through Grove park. This years walk/run even saw teams from Tabernacle Baptist Church, Holy Savior and the Church of the Living God.

The official opening of the Black Arts Festival Celebration came on Saturday morning with the Black Arts Festival Parade. Ten members of the Wichita Branch NAACP Youth Council (Wichita NYC) marched in the parade and carried a coffin through the streets in a mock burial of the "N" word. The Wichita NYC Chess club also set up a Chess table behind the Branch Membership table for the second year in a row. The Youth along with their coach, Mr. Anthony Winn (pictured in the White Hat), and Adult Branch President Myles, took on all challengers.

The Youth group also partnered with the Black Arts Festival Committee to host a teen-talk forum, entitled "you are what you think". 62 Youth participated in the forum which was based on the NAACP's National STOP campaign dealing with the negative terms and names the youth use in addressing one another. More than just the "N" word, the forum asked the youth to consider how they want to be regarded and remembered. The forum featured a powerful presentation and music from Mr. Rob Simon. Afterwards, the Youth were broken into smaller groups and were able to complete spoken word pieces describing their feelings on the subject and their hopes for the future. Each group then took turns performing their piece for the whole. At the end, each youth was given a small slip of paper to write down the negative words and terms that they've either used, heard, or been called and they each brought those slips of paper up the the front of the room where they were placed in the coffin to be buried along with the "N" word. http://www.kansas.com/news/local/story/165155.html

The festival closed last night with an 'Old School' party and concert headed by the SOS Band!

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