Op/Ed By Michael Vaughn
As I have written this column, we’ve just completed Black History Month 2015. Black History Month has been a month which I’ve enjoyed; because it has helped Americans to reflect upon the amazing accomplishments of African-Americans throughout our history. Our country would not be what it currently is without the contributions African-Americans have made throughout history.
Regardless of what people have said, African-Americans have been a strong, intelligent people who have had to overcome severe adversity, and, still, have been able to rise above it, and continue to make great contributions to a country which has yet to fully embrace all that African-Americans “bring to the table!”
We have, indeed, been blessed by God! In addition, there are two events I would like to highlight this week, which will point to some of the many positives that have been going on right here in the Rochester community. News reports would have people believe African-Americans are the core of the many problems facing our society. However, that is not the truth! We are doing some great work in this community.
One of the events I would like to highlight is the Black Heritage Gala. I just came across this event last year, not realizing they had been hosting the gala for 14 years, and thought it was a great event, which highlighted the achievements of African-Americans in Rochester.
Not only was the event’s objective noteworthy, but, the manner in which it had been hosted had been excellent. The event took place at the Hyatt hotel in downtown Rochester, and officials encouraged guests to dress up and enjoy a great evening. I really like these types of events, because they have been designed to recognize the selflessness of African-Americans in our community.
One community initiative the gala highlighted had been the Pillars of Hope (www.cityofrochester.gov/pillarsofhope). Through this initiative, African-American adults have taken the time to reach back, and help the younger generation stand on their shoulders. These adults spent time with these young people, in order to encourage them to be successful in school, as well as in life. And, I believe this has been great work, in that it has had the potential to leave a lasting imprint on the hearts and minds of young people. God bless the volunteers who have given their time to make such a positive imprint on these young people.
The other event I would like to highlight will come from the “Sisters for a Better Black Community.” They will host their annual fashion show, and dinner, March 14. This organization has gone about quietly making an impact in the lives of young African-American ladies who will be heading to college.
They will provide scholarships to these young girls in order to help offset the financial cost of attending college. I had not heard of this event until a few years ago, when my wife was asked to be part of the fashion show, and; when I went, I was thoroughly impressed by the excellence of the show, and its objective.
This year, they will celebrate 40 years of holding the fashion show, and 43 years of being established in this community. These sisters have gone about their charitable and impactful work quietly, and consistently, for these many years, and have helped a number of young girls pursue their educational dreams. God bless these sisters for the work they have done.
African-Americans have a rich, and powerful, heritage, and there have been organizations which are not just reflecting on the past, but ones that are taking on the burden of helping others, while also adding value to their lives. They’ve continued a steadiness which has shown success over the many years that they have been true to their vision and mission. They’ve embodied the integrity, honor and hard work which has exemplified African-Americans throughout history.
So, the next time the news wants to make us think African-Americans have been a burden to society, remember the Black Heritage Gala, and the Sisters for a Better Black Community. They have busted that stereotype, and have the results to prove it!
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