Black History Month is in the books

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By the time you read this it will be March 2014. So hard to believe, yes we keep saying that the older we get. The “that” I’m referring to is how fast time is passing by. Before you know it Christmas displays will be back on the shelf. I should just leave the Christmas tree up all year round.

I for one am grateful to say that I am getting older. I just finished covering some of the best Black History Month events ever.

I just got home from “Macy’s Celebrates Eras of Black Style.” The event saluted 10 decades of culture-defining African-American style with an “in conversation” discussion featuring journalist and style expert Constance White, supermodel Beverly Johnson, and Owner of Utopia Model Agency and Founder of FashionAFRICANA Demeatria Boccella. Department Chair of Fashion at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Stephanie Taylor, hosted the evening.

The audience was able to ask questions of the fabulous panel and so much was learned just from the exchange. I was able to find out that a young lady is working on an autobiography on the legendary supermodel Naomi Sims and on Thursday, March 27, there will be the Third Annual Tribute to Legendary Supermodel Naomi Sims. This will be held from 6-8 p.m. at 720 Music, Clothing & Café located at 4405 Butler St. I look forward to telling you about this. The networking was great. Might I add, that the event was free and all you had to do was sign up online?

The University of Pittsburgh has an annual Black History Month Program. This year they honored Nathan Davis, Toi Derricotte and Vernell Lillie. What a great way to spend a Monday evening. There were tribute performances of dance, poetry and jazz for the honorees and a wonderful reception followed.

One of my most enjoyable events was one that was not open to the public. On my day job, our Pittsburgh office held our first Diversity and Inclusion week. This week has been held in other cities by having an international food day or a day when you wear clothing that represents your culture. I was the event coordinator for our event in Pittsburgh and I asked Candi Castleberry-Singleton, the chief Inclusion & Diversity officer at UPMC, to be our speaker for a small group of fewer than 50 people. She agreed.

My coworkers did not know what to expect, but I can tell you they were blown away and I was so happy with my speaker selection.  Castleberry-Singleton speaks from the heart and speaks with such ease and passion. No notes, no PowerPoint, just a matter of fact speech about dignity and respect. My co-workers wanted to know when she could come back. They wanted more people to hear what she had to say.

It is a shame that we wait until Black History Month to hold some of the programs that we have in February. These programs should be held all year round.

(Email the columnist at debbienorrell@aol.com)

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