Social reform groups organize Black History Month celebration in Long Beach

Participants+in+the+Black+History+Month+Celebration+marched+in+solidarity+with+others+to+remember+African-American%27s+role+in+shaping+America.+The+march+took+place+at+Marina+Park+in+Long+Beach+on+February+20%2C+2021.+

Vincent N. Medina

Participants in the Black History Month Celebration marched in solidarity with others to remember African-American’s role in shaping America. The march took place at Marina Park in Long Beach on February 20, 2021.

Vincent Medina, Community Editor

Social reform groups held a Black History Month celebration and march at Marina Vista Park in Long Beach on Feb. 24.

Organizers included leaders from the Black Liberation Movement within Orange County, Clarity OC, the OC Justice Initiative, OC for Black Lives, Black Lives Matter Pasadena and CORE Movement.

“We are out here to educate the community on the contributions of African-Americans in American history,” said Anthony Bryson, founder of the Community Organized Revolutionary Equality (Core) Movement.

He plans to run to represent California’s 47th Congressional District in 202

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“We want people to know that Black joy is a form of protest. We want people to know that Black contributions are the blueprint to America and incorporate it in our daily lives.”

During the event, all participants were required to wear masks and social distance. All speakers and performers used an ASL translator.

Free food and drinks were also served, but everyone was asked to donate to one of the participating organizations.

Sugi Dakks performed a rap and delivered an empowering speech about the Black men and women who died in 2020.

“Jacob Blake, Geroge Floyd and Breion Taylor were just shot. They’re just names to them (police),” Dakks said. “Color exposes our true colors too often.”

In between performances and speeches, onlookers enjoyed music and watched as Xodiac Darling danced passionately to the music.

“I run an organization called ‘Queer Excellence,’ and we recognize the Black and queer excellence that came before me,” Darling said. “If a queer person is illegal in 72 countries, then a celebration of existence is a celebration in itself. By me dancing femininely, I am protesting through dance.”

Compton resident Mollie Bell, 74, illustrated the history of segregation and racism in America through poetry.

Bell read a poem about an innocent Black child who asked where he could sit on the merry-go-round. She also read a poem where an eight-year-old Black child was called the “n-word” when he smiled at another white boy.

“When we stand together, we can do anything,” the Compton resident said. “Find a grass-roots organization and get involved. Together we can win.”

As the winds began to pick up, the celebration took to the streets and marched around the park.

Onlookers honked in solidarity with them as they chanted “Black Lives Matter” and played music to grab resident’s attention to their movement.

Once the march concluded, Bryson thanked everyone for attending and encouraged them to continue participating in peaceful protests.

There was no police interference during the event.