• 36°

Ward 4 to host Black History Month program

By Oniska Blevins | The Selma Times-Journal

Selma’s Ward 4 is gearing up to end Black History month with a bang. The 10th annual Black Men Heal symposium and Expressions program will be Feb. 26 and Feb. 27 at the Performing Arts Center.

Expressions will start at 5:30 p.m. Monday and will feature local singers, dancers, poets and artists.

The Black Man Heal symposium will be from 9:30-2:30 p.m. Tuesday and will feature six panelists to discuss the “holistic and healing need of African American men and boys.”

Ward 4 Councilwoman Angela Benjamin, who organizes the event, said the idea for the Black Man Heal symposium was inspired by the book “Black Man Heal.”

She said these two programs have really grown and the community is involved in that growth.

“It’s a celebration of black history,” Benjamin said. “It’s an effort to close the communication gap between the young and the old.”

Benjamin said some of the topics discussed include entrepreneurship, religion, finance and mental health.

The symposium’s panelists will be six of Selma’s prominent African American men. As a part of the symposium, a group of African American boys in grades 6-12 will have the opportunity to interact and talk one on one with the panelists on the topics they discussed to the entire group. She said the keynote speaker this year is Togo Uganda Cole.

Benjamin said programs like these have lasting positive affects on young African American men in the community.

“The symposium came about because of what was happening to our young African American men, and in my opinion, healing needed to take place,” Benjamin said.

According to Benjamin, there has to be a celebration to go with the symposium because people have to celebrate what is good in the community as well. She said the response from the community has been phenomenal in the past, and the program is always a packed house.