Tuesday, February 23, 2016

'Paving the Way' production honors African-Americans

Black History Month celebrations at Cuyamaca College culminate with “Paving the Way,” a Feb. 26 event at the Performing Arts Theatre that melds music, theatre, dance, and poetry in saluting African Americans who were pioneers in their field.
The event is set to get under way at 7:30 p.m. and includes professional, semi-professional, and local novice actors performing a number of excerpts from playwrights and poets throughout the night. Among the pioneers being highlighted will be President Barack Obama, civil rights icon Rosa Parks, abolitionist Harriet Tubman and choreographer and activist Alvin Ailey.

“Paving the Way” is directed by brother-sister team Robert Chambers and Sakeenah Gallardo. Chambers is a Cuyamaca College alum and former professional dancer with an extensive background with the arts and choreography projects who for eight years taught theater through the Cuyamaca College Community Learning division. Gallardo is a Grossmont College graduate who now teaches communications at both Cuyamaca and San Diego Mesa colleges.

“We were prompted to create such an event because there was a need to highlight the accomplishments of African-Americans,” said Gallardo. “We wanted to show how Cuyamaca College was a huge supporter of cultural enrichment for all ethnicities. My brother and I have chosen to highlight African-Americans who have paved ways in the areas of the civil rights, arts, politics and the sciences. We will be acknowledging the achievements and sacrifices made by the men and women who have paved the way for present and future African-Americans.”

Cost is $8; $5 for students and seniors. Proceeds will benefit FANCY (Focused and Naturally Confident Youth), a local organization working to empower high school girls and foster youth. 

Black History Month, also known as National African American History Month, is an annual celebration of achievements by African-Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. The event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African-Americans.

 Black History Month at Cuyamaca College included a display on the first and second floors of the campus library; a screening of the movie, ‘Selma,’ that was followed by a discussion; a workshop by Hurricane Katrina survivor Dr. Tanis Starck, assistant dean of special projects at San Diego State University’s School of Education; and the introduction of the Black Student Union.
Cuyamaca College is at 900 Rancho San Diego Parkway in Rancho San Diego.

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