LIVINGSTON, NJ In celebration of Black History Month, the Livingston Committee for Diversity and Inclusion (LCDI) recently announced a line-up of events that began on Saturday with the dedication of a Black Lives Matter banner that is now displayed on S. Livingston Avenue in the pergola in front of Roosevelt Plaza.
Although February has been recognized as Black History Month by U.S. presidents since 1976 to honor the achievements of African Americans and their central role in U.S. history, this is the first time the Township Livingston will be showcasing events. Following Saturdays kickoff event, the LDCI will continue to host programs throughout the month that include virtual presentations for residents of all ages, features about local black-owned businesses and more.
In attendance for the outdoor ceremony on Saturdaywhich was organized by LCDI Black History Month sub-committee co-chairs Amy Ipp and Keith Hineswere Livingston Mayor Shawn Klein; Deputy Mayor Ed Meinhardt; Councilman Michael Vieira, council liaison to the LCDI; council members Al Anthony and Rudy Fernandez; Livingston Board of Education members Vineeta Khanna and Seth Cohen; Darryl Jefferies, president of the Orange and Maplewood branch of NAACP; Essex County Commissioner Patricia Sebold; and a handful of Livingston residents.
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Black history is American history, said Klein, acknowledging that Black Americans should be credited with building much of this country. The Black experience has been under-described. We need to cast a spotlight on Black history and struggle  as well as on the accomplishments of African Americans.
Although she recognized that Livingston has always been a welcoming town, Ipp state that this banner says it loud and clear while also raising awareness about the systemic racism that exists within the community and beyond.
One of our members, Simone Anthony-Brown, showed us a photo of the same banner, which they have in Maplewood, said Ipp. Our committee enthusiasticallyadopted this idea and proposed it to the town council, which approved it unanimously
There is unfinished work to be done, and the banner is one small contribution to the effort to fully include all people by recognizing basic human rights.
LCDI co-chairs Alyse Heilpern and Saba Khan thanked the Black History Month committee for their hard work, stating that the banner will demonstrate the townships commitment to ensuring that all community members are valued and accepted.
According to Ipp, the dedication of the banner was the first of several events for Black History Month that have been in the works since early January.
We are excited to bring these events to Livingston and look forward to honoring the rich history and culture African-Americans have contributed, she and Hines said in a joint statement.
Anthony-Brown, a local artist and owner of Express Yourself Studios in Maplewood, will present a virtual series showcasing the artwork of African-American Master Artists, including Faith Ringgold on Feb. 9, Jacob Lawrence on Feb. 16 and Howardena Pindell on Feb. 23. Each one-hour program will start at 5 p.m. and include a discussion and art project geared toward children ages 6 to 10. The links to register for these sessions will be posted on the LCDI Facebook page.
A cooking demonstration with Kai Campbell, local chef and owner of Newark restaurants Walla Burger, The Yard and Bragmans Deli will take place on Feb. 22 at 5:30 p.m. and will be moderated by Livingston High School graduate Shaylah Brown, a reporter at The Bergen Record.
The Healing Power of Hip Hop with Dr. Raphael Travis will be presented on Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. The program is based on his book by the same title.
Professional storyteller Shirley Johnson of Sankofa Stories will share African folktales on Friday, Feb. 26, at 4 p.m.
Additionally, a series of readings appropriate for various ages will be recorded and posted on the LCDI Facebook page throughout the month, beginning with Mayor Klein oratingThe Undefeatedby Kwame Alexander. The Black Student Union at Livingston High School will be reading additional selections.
Also throughout the month, LCDI will be featuring local black-owned businesses, and residents will be able to test their knowledge with the Black History Month Facts of The Day that will run on the two electronic bulletin boards located in front of the Livingston Public Library on S. Livingston Avenue and the Livingston Senior and Community Center on Hillside Avenue.
Ahead of Black History Month, members of LCDI recently served as moderators and guest speakers during a virtual presentation about systemic racism.During the event, panelists defined systemic racism, discussed the history of systemic racism and shared their personal experiences with systemic racism.CLICK HERE to view the presentation on the Livingston Education! Facebook page.
For additional details about upcoming LCDI Black History Month events, refer to the LCDI Facebook page BY CLICKING HERE or contact LCDI firstname.lastname@example.org.
The full Black Lives Matter banner ceremony can be viewed BY CLICKING HERE.
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