NJ Black Cultural and Heritage Initiative Foundation debut press release
The New Jersey Black Cultural and Heritage Initiative Foundation will make its public debut on February 1, 2008 at its launch ceremony to be held at The War Memorial in Trenton, New Jersey at 10:00 am.Authorized by the New Jersey State Legislature as an independent nonprofit corporation and partner of the New Jersey Department of State, the Foundation is mandated to create public/private partnerships to broaden, deepen and diversify public participation in black arts, history and culture. The foundation is Co-Chaired by Secretary of State, Nina Mitchell Wells and bestselling author and businessman, Stedman Graham.
In celebration of Black History Month and the Foundation’s launch, the ceremony will seek to encapsulate the remarkable story of the Black Diaspora from their African ancestral beginnings to their modern-day legacies through oration and performing arts under the theme “Reflections of Courage … Vision of Service.” Former NFL star and television personality, Irving Fryar will serve as the Master of Ceremony. The program will also feature:
* Traditional African dance by the Iwa L’ewa Heritage Dance Ensemble
* The endearing storytelling of the nationally celebrated Queen Nur, of Kennedy Center and Broadway renown
* The authentic recollections of African American soldiers presented by the 6th Regiment U.S. Colored Troops Reenactors
* The modern jazz fusion of the New Jersey Tap Ensemble
* The prolific prose of Spoken Word Artist, Lamont Dixon, former co-executive producer of the Russell Simmon’s Def Poetry Jam Philadelphia Tour
* The timeless elegance of the nationally acclaimed pianist and composer Geri Allen, accompanied by Sandra Turner Barnes, renowned jazz poet and vocalist
* The eclectic repertoire of the Westminister Jubilee Singers
* The enthralling choral literature of the Newark Boys Chorus
* The pulsating rhythms of the Caribbean/steel-drum-band Random Test with members hailing from Jamaica, Grenada, London, Trinidad, Tobago and Mexico.
In accordance with the foundation’s mandate, all program performers and presenters are New Jersey based.
The foundation will also premiere its NJLivingColor.org website at the launch ceremony. The website, the first of its kind within the state, will seek to promote cultural heritage tourism exploring the legacy and contributions of people of African descent within the state of New Jersey. Initial features of the website will include over 230 arts and history listings of programs, cultural venues and historic places, in addition to over 100 calendar events celebrating black arts, history and culture from across the state. Cultural listings include:
* Historic sites identified as a primary residence of a notable black historic figure or community/religious gathering place for early black communities;
* Arts venues, performances and/or programs that are either outgrowths of the cultural heritage and artistic expressions of people of African descent, or are multicultural in nature with regards to program content, presenters and/or audiences;
* Historic sites that served as the residence to a quorum of known (and unknown) slaves identified through historic documents and/or artifacts;
* Museums and/or homesteads that display historical exhibits and/or facilitate programs that are explicitly related to Black History (although the site itself may not);
* Historic sites and/or locations identified as having played a role in the Underground Railroad;
* Grave sites that are noted as the final resting place of slaves, black soldiers and notable historic figures.
* Residences of non-black historic figures that played a significant political and/or advocacy role in history with regards to abolition, slavery and other issues related to people of African descent.
Through its public launch ceremony, website and future endeavors, the foundation will seek to be a part of the unifying voice of the state’s cultural heritage interests, celebrating the legacy, contributions and remarkable stories of New Jersey’s diverse communities and shared history.
The New Jersey Black Cultural and Heritage Initiative Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Authorized by the New Jersey State Legislature as an independent nonprofit corporation and partner of the New Jersey Department of State, the foundation is mandated to create public/private partnerships to broaden, deepen and diversify public participation in black arts, history and culture. The foundation is governed by a distinguished Board of Trustees co-chaired by Secretary of State, Nina Mitchell Wells and Stedman Graham. The Executive Director of the foundation is Lawana P. Dykes, co-founder of the foundation and its legislation.
For additional information about the foundation’s authorizing legislation, please access the following link: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2004/Bills/PL05/47_.HTM
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