“Black history is all of our history. From the cradle of civilization to the building of these United States, people of African descent are inseparable from the advancement of humankind,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Join Mayor Eric Garcetti, the Board of Public Works, Department of Cultural affairs and countless others, Wednesday, February 7th, during the 69th Annual African American Heritage Month Opening Ceremony beginning at 10am at City Hall followed by speakers, food and music on the South Lawn of City Hall.
As Americans set forth in our time to “make America great again”, it’s good to know City Hall will keep with its tradition of honoring America’s finest with this year’s theme, “African Americans in War Times”, with an emphasis on both the challenges African Americans endured during their matriculation in war times of the past as well as those of today.
“Each year, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Our Authors Study Club and the Los Angeles African American Heritage Month Committee chooses achievers to be recognized as Living Legends and members of the Hall of Fame for their work in different fields of human endeavor,” said Board of Public Works Commissioner Mike Davis.
Past honorees include Angela Bassett, Charlie Wilson, Lou Gosset Jr, and Johnny Mathis. This event promises to bring out top celebrities in support as it has in the past in sports legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Singer/Songwriter John Legend and many others.
Among this year’s honorees, Legendary singer/songwriter Dionne Warwick,
5 time Grammy Award winner, and aunt of the late great Whitney Houston. Also, this year, the annual commemorative opening ceremonies will honor Superior Court Judge David Cunningham III, a New York University Law school graduate, who once served on the Los Angeles Police Commission, Lt. Col. Patricia Jackson-Kelly, who has led an exemplary career in the U.S. Army and will be honored in keeping with this year’s theme and Noel Massie, President of U.S. Operations for United Parcel Service, who will be honored for corporate achievement.
The City of Los Angeles African American Heritage Month celebration started in 1949 with Our Authors Study Club and the mayor of Los Angeles.
This year’s festivities will kick off with a presentation in the City Hall Council Chamber at 10 a.m. recognizing honorees followed by the Department of Cultural Affairs unveiling their 2018 African American Heritage Month Calendar and Cultural Guide which will include events throughout LA, including; a The Black Book, a collaborative project with author and Cal Arts professor Tisa Bryant and celebrated writer Ernest Hardy, at the Hammer Museum, the Pan African Film and Arts Festival February, 8th-19th, and Battleship IOWA, Battleship IOWA: 5th Annual Gravely Celebration Experience (Feb. 15, 2018), to name a few.
Participating in the ceremony will be Garcetti; City Council President Herb J. Wesson Jr. and the Los Angeles City Council; Board of Public Works Commissioner Davis; the Department of Cultural Affairs; Our Authors Study Club; and the 2018 African American Heritage Month Committee.
Inducted into this year’s Hall of Fame are recipients who serve in critical roles in L.A. public agencies. Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Michelle King is first African American woman to hold the post and will be acknowledged in the Education category and Los Angeles Police Commission President Matthew Johnson will be honored as a Government awardee.
The purpose of the celebration is to raise the awareness about the positive contributions African Americans have made to the city.
Yet, searching the web for information concerning this year’s African American History Month Opening Ceremony held annually for almost 70 years at City Hall in our local media was like finding a needle in a hay stack. Perhaps some DTLA newspapers found it more important to focus our attentions on the marijuana industry or even downtown’s awesome pooches rather than steering us towards the importance of honoring the many achievements of African Americans in the US (not to mention the African Americans who actually founded Los Angeles). Or maybe, the event just needs to step up its PR.
Nevertheless, Downtown Weekly will not let the past achievements of our fellow Americans and the honoring of such fall so easily through the cracks of obscurity. The African American Heritage Month Opening Ceremonies to honor the great achievements in the arts, academia, business, medicine, government and the non-profit sectors will be held Wednesday, February 7th, at 10am at City Hall located at 200 S. Main. The event is free and open to the public. Hundreds will attend. For more information visit www.lacity.org.