Black History Month Celebration at The Church of the Advent in Westbury. (Photo by Ed Shin)

Westbury Arts presented our fourth annual Black History Month celebration on Saturday at the Church of the Advent in Westbury. This engaging and inspiring program, called “Sankofa,” thrilled the standing room only crowd with music, dancing, storytelling, and more.

Westbury Arts Board Member and mistress of ceremonies, Patricia Lewis, transported the audience of over 200 people on a journey through Black Culture and History. The walls of Winthrop Hall were adorned with traditional fabrics and artwork arranged by Lewis and her team of volunteers.

After warm welcomes by Pastor Eddie Allyne and Westbury Arts President, Julie Lyon, the entire audience rose to their feet to sing “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Next, Eric Julian Emmanuel Oduro read his poem, “A Child of Progression.” His words captured the essence of the “Sankofa” theme, focusing on the importance of reaching back to knowledge gained in the past and bringing it to the present, in order to make positive progress.

The performing acts moved the audience with rhythm and emotion. They included the award winning and nationally recognized Uniondale High School Rhythm of the Knight Show Choir, African Dance and Drumming by Danse Xpressions, Liturgical Dance by the Praise Dancers from Shiloh Church of Rockville Center, and Steppin by Omega Psi Phi. Joysetta Pearse, co-founder of the African-Atlantic Genealogical Society of Long Island shared stories from the past as fuel to inspire the current generation.

Special thanks to The Westbury Church of the Advent for collaborating on this event, and to the Islamic Center of Long Island for their generous sponsorship. This event was made possible in part with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and administered by The Huntington Arts Council. 

Westbury Arts Board Member and mistress of ceremonies, Patricia Lewis & Joysetta Pearse, co-founder of the African-Atlantic Genealogical Society of Long Island. (Photo by Ed Shin)
President of Westbury Arts Julie Lyon (Photo by Ed Shin)
Pastor Eddie Allyne & Wetbury Arts Member Arthur Dobrin. (Photo by Ed Shin)
Joysetta Pearse. (Photo by Ed Shin)
Eric Julian Emmanuel Oduro reading his poem, “A Child of Progression.” (Photo by Ed Shin)
African Dance and Drumming by Danse Xpressions. (Photo by Ed Shin)
Uniondale High School Rhythm of the Knight Show Choir with Music DirectorLynnette Carr-Hicks. (Photo by Ed Shin)
African Dance and Drumming by Danse Xpressions. (Photo by Ed Shin)
Liturgical Dance by the Praise Dancers from Shiloh Church of Rockville Center. (Photo by Ed Shin)
The walls of Winthrop Hall were adorned with traditional fabrics and artwork arranged by Lewis and her team of volunteers. (Photo by Ed Shin)
Steppin by Omega Psi Phi. (Photo by Ed Shin)
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