By: Richard L. Smith
The Union County Board of County Commissioners is honoring Black History Month 2024 by hosting a series of events in February under this year's theme, "African Americans and the Arts." Kelly Martins, director of the Office of Communication & Public Information, said the events are designed to showcase Black contributions to various art forms, including music and visual media.Union County Commissioner Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded emphasized the importance of the arts in understanding the Black experience throughout history.
The county is committed to providing family-friendly and engaging learning experiences.
The series kicks off on February 1 at 1:00 p.m. with the raising of the Pan-African flag at the Union County Courthouse in Elizabeth.
Commissioner Rebecca Williams highlighted the significance of openly celebrating Black culture, a practice once considered unthinkable.
A highlight of the month is a virtual Lunch and Learn presentation scheduled for February 14 at 12:30 p.m.
Professor Shawn Smith, a talented photographer and filmmaker, will be the featured speaker.
Registration is required for the Zoom event at www.ucnj.org/bhm.
Commissioner Michèle S. Delisfort praised Professor Smith's extensive knowledge and experience, making him an ideal choice for the series.
His session is part of the county's initiative to offer educational experiences in an enjoyable format.
The month's activities will culminate on February 22 at 7:00 p.m. with a special Jazz Night concert at the Union County Performing Arts Center Hamilton Stage in Rahway.
Director Martins said the concert will feature the Bob DeVos Quartet with Lance Bryant and include the presentation of the 2024 Chester Holmes Humanitarian Award.Free tickets are available upon registration at www.ucnj.org/bhm.
Commissioner James E. Baker, Jr. expressed excitement about hosting community events at the recently reopened Hamilton Stage, continuing the celebration of the UCPAC's 95th anniversary.
In addition, the county plans to feature weekly social media content about the "Divine Nine" historically Black fraternities and sororities.
For more information on the Black History Month events, residents can visit www.ucnj.org/bhm or contact Judith Guest at the Union County Office of Community Engagement and Diversity.