Early Tuesday morning, Alton Sterling, 37 years old, father of five, was fatally shot outside a convenience store in Louisiana. The disturbing incident was captured on cellphone video. Reportedly, The Baton Rouge Police Department released a statement that: “uniformed officers responded to a call early Tuesday about a black male in a red shirt who was selling CDs and had reportedly threatened the caller with a gun.” Also, BRPD adds , [that] Officers “made contact” with Sterling in the parking lot of the Triple S Food Mart. There was an altercation. Police said, “Sterling was shot during the altercation and died at the scene,” and the two officers have been placed on administration leave “per standard procedure,” BRPD added, and that the investigation will continue. The East Baton Rouge Coroner Dr. William Clark reports, “Sterling died from multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and back.” The coroner would not immediately confirm if Sterling was shot 7 times. The president of the NAACP, Cornell Brooks, says, “[the] video of the incident hard to watch — but “far harder” to ignore.” State Representative, Ted James, calls the incident, “murder”. Black Lives Matter members and outraged citizens have taken to the streets in protest.
Saturday night I attended the inaugural event for AFRIKIN, a cultural festival held in Little Haiti, Miami to embrace the artistic, economic, political progression, and communities from across the diaspora. I was expecting dashikis, incense, oils, cultural food, and the like. To my pleasant surprise I was right! I encountered that plus so much more. The Rockers Movement described AFRIKIN as follows: “Afrikin Fest is an African inspired food and music festival aimed to attract the best chefs, rum connoisseurs, musical and fine artists from around the world to the infamous cultural hub of Miami, Florida. Miami will be completely transformed through fascinating sights, smells, and sounds during this weekend celebration. – See more at: Rockers Movement
This first installment was co-hosted by author and activist, Julie Mansfield, a sexual abuse survivor, who champions women’s rights and cultural education surrounding the impact that molestation, rape, and abuse has on women and their families, worldwide. The #charity benefitting from the event is the #nonprofit organization, “Give Me Dignity,” to raise awareness and prevention of Childhood Sexual Abuse (CSA). Mansfield encouraged the crowd to raise additional funds to end sexual abuse and child molestation.
#Presentations were given by: Dr. Carole Boyce-Davies (Education), Dr. Lanalee Sam (Health), Artiste Philippe Dodard (Art), and Umi Selah (Activism). The cultural #PERFORMANCES by artists such as: Vaughn “Akae Beka” Benjamin, Tambor feat. DJ Stan Zeff, Kevens (unplugged), Moonchild, Equalizer Sound Selector Iscious, P.E.A.C.E and Anita Will, made the crowd feel the mystic vibration of Mother Africa, speaking a language we all understand, which is #love.
Visual #ART by, Philippe Dodard, The Ebohon Collection Benin City, Nigeria, Turgo Bastien, Gregory Vorbe, flashed on the walls as digital projections. Performances in #DANCE by #SASA African Dance Theater
#SPOKENWORD #poetry by, Aja Monet, and Give Me Dignity and #POETRY by, Mecca Grimo, and Bongo Bluez.
Community economic empowerment #AWARD was presented to Chef Creole #owner, Wilkinson Ken Sejour.
Economic empowerment was embraced through vendors of #AFRICANEATS by, Native African Cuisine and Lovely Roots Gourmet. I was pleased to meet and have a wonderful conversation with Mohammad Sene who performed #AFRICANDRUMS all evening. Sene is from Senegal and teaches African Drums, here in Miami.
My favorite perfomance of the night had to be the soothing melodies emanating from Rastafarian legend, Vaughn “Akae Beka” Benjamin. His enchanting tone made the crowd sway to and fro as only Benjamin can do. With over 50 recorded albums to his credit, Benjamin did not disappoint.
The evening was filled with positive energy, beautiful people, and good vibrations. The next installment of AFRIKIN will be November 18-20, 2016. Follow Afrikin Fest on Facebook and Instagram.
For more information: Economic empowerment
Celli Arenas, published author, has been featured in several magazines, such as: MIA Magazine, Success Magazine, Legacy Magazine. She is the host blogger at cellibration.com, and hosts MIA-Live.net for BlogTalk Radio. Her books, “30 Days of Dynamic Pursuit” a self-help journal, and “Sidetracked: He Used To Love Me”, a coming of age novel, are both available at amazon.com
Thursday, June 30th, I was a special guest of, author and President of Affirming Youth, Jonathan Spikes, at the Better Together Celebration Miami, at The historic Lyric Theater, in Miami Florida. Spikes was honored as a community leader that significantly impacts the progress and development of youth and community at large in South Florida.
All 10 of the men honored are pillars of the South Florida community and abroad. They can be found providing community service, working with youth, providing expertise in all areas of education, law, medicine, business, physical fitness, spirituality, and much more. The honorees will receive $10,000 each for their community programs after being named Miami’s first BMe Leaders. The event was energetic, electric, and filled with hope and expectancy of great things to come.
Learn more about the honorees here: bloggingblackmiami.com
Benjamin Evans III, Managing Director of the BMe Community, was an engaging host who kept the large audience of families, supporters, and honorees cheering in the hallowed halls of the historic Lyric Theater . Evans did not skip a beat, each honoree danced on stage to celebrate success. The BMe Better Together Awards also honored Alberto Ibargüen, Javier Alberto Soto, Felecia Hatcher, Dr. Pandwe Gibson, David Lawrence Jr. The event was energetic, electric, and alive. We are looking forward to more from all of the honorees and BMe Community.
Founder and CEO of BMe Community, Trabian Shorters, was inspired by the progressive development of black men and developed an extensive network of all races and genders that is committed to building better communities across the U.S.
Celli Arenas, published author, has been featured in several magazines, such as: MIA Magazine, Success Magazine, Legacy Magazine. She is the host blogger at cellibration.com, and hosts MIA-Live.net for BlogTalk Radio. Her books, “30 Days of Dynamic Pursuit” a self-help journal, and “Sidetracked: He Used To Love Me”, a coming of age novel, are both available at amazon.com.