Event organizer Paul Hall, Tracy Unified School District’s director of student services and curriculum, said the event is meant to help students understand their cultural roots and recognize black leaders who came before them.
Hall said the celebration — hosted this year by the African American Educators Association, Tracy African American Association, CV100 Black Men and West High School Black Student Union — has taken place at least the past six years, but he wasn’t sure how far back the tradition runs in Tracy.
Among the highlights of the evening were guest speaker Councilwoman Nancy Young and a spirited performance by iMime, a lip-synching dance group of high school students from across the county.
Young told the 100 or so teens and adults in attendance they needed to find leadership qualities in themselves and fulfill their dreams no matter how big or small. She said it’s surprising how many lives can be touched by an individual reaching his own goals.
“Today I challenge you to find your purpose and rise up and do those things,” she said. “Black History Month is a lesson in what do you want to do with the rest of your life. Life and tomorrow is not promised. The things you do and say are important. Don’t limit yourselves. Speak it so you can achieve it.”
Among the evening’s musical entertainment was a dance by iMime to the spiritual song, “Incredible God.”
Tracy High School junior Sabrina George said the group’s performance is a way to praise God.
“It shows we can do something different and be proud,” George said.
Organizers, including West High counselor and African American Educators Association member Iris Abraham, hoped more people would have attended and heard the event’s inspiring messages.
“I think it went well,” Abraham said. “I did want to have more people. We want to do this for everybody — to inspire the youth to be successful and work together in the community.”
• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.