By: Camre Creecy and Alexandria Ortiz
The start of the night began with the national anthem sung by Isaiah Washington. This was followed by Marin Paul on saxophone, playing “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” This song is often referred to as the Black American National Anthem. Our principal, Mr. Bell, spoke of accepting diversity and explained why this night is so important. “Three Ways to Speak English” was recited by Sherry Brown and Gabrini LeBlane. Next, the CHS Women’s Chorus sang a moving spiritual song. Ms. Haynes, a former student and now a social worker, returned to CHS to share her story. This really opened the audience’s eyes to how difficult life can be when you’re treated unfairly. The highlight of the night was when Halea Patrice Duryea-Stern read “What If There Were No Black People.” This reminded the audience that a lot of everyday things were invented by black people. The CHS Kickline Team followed by beautifully performing “The Living Proof” by Mary J. Blige.
Author Bernice Sims spoke of her personal experience as a Civil Rights veteran. Her book, Detour before Midnight, is about how she was “molded” by becoming a Civil Rights activist. She has always believed we are all equal. She was very “passionate” about reminding the audience of the words in the Pledge of Allegiance “liberty and justice for all.” As a teenager, these words inspired her to help make a change through picketing, knocking on doors, and protesting during the Civil Rights Movement. In the process, some of her good friends were murdered. She tells their stories in her book.
After Ms. Sims spoke, Eyram Atatsi recited her poem “Do You Understand?” which expresses life as an African American young lady. After a couple of awards, the night ended with a moving CHS Jazz Band performance, which completed the night of reflection and expression.