By Gary Metzker, Contributing writer
The board of directors are in place. Focus groups have shared their opinions. Committees have been formed.
Now it is time for the public to participate in conversations concerning the African American Cultural Center Long Beach.
The AACCLB will conduct its first virtual quarterly meeting Tuesday, June 30 at 6 p.m..
Dr. Felton Williams, longtime educator, Long Beach Unified School Board member and president of the AACC board of directors, said that while the board is just getting started, one of the most important agenda items is seeking the public’s thoughts on what they want this center to be.
“The purpose of the quarterly meetings is to update the community on our progress and future areas of endeavors, and to listen to concerns and solicit your recommendations,” he said.
With a mission statement that strives to “celebrate, cultivate, and advance the enrichment of the heritage and culture of the Black/African American community in Long Beach and beyond,” the meetings will focus on four items:
- Collections and display artifacts of African American achievements in the arts, music, literature, sports, education, entertainment and life experiences of African American heroes, both famous and forgotten.
- Display exhibits that emphasize and encourage dialogue on race, reconciliation and healing.
- Educational programs that focus on the role of African American culture in shaping shared heritages.
- Organize and conduct cultural events that will serve as conduits to improve relationships and enhance fund development.
Long Beach has a Museum of Latin American Art and a Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum, but more than 60,000 African Americans in the city do not have a cultural center.
“This is our opportunity to let people know what we are doing,” said Tasha W. Hunter, vice president of the AACC board of directors. “One of our concerns is that some people may think that because they haven’t heard a thing from us, that we haven’t done anything and that is so far from the truth.”
Hunter, who is also president of the Long Beach Arts Council and director of the Uptown Business Improvement District, said that people who attend the virtual meeting will have an opportunity to volunteer to join various committees as well.
A location for the center is still to be decided, but Hunter said the board has its eyes on a few locations.
We are working with private groups as well as the city for locations that may serve as a temporary facility,” she said. “It’s going to take millions to get our actual location.”
Hunter said the first meeting will be for updates and to re-engage with the public.
“We are working feverishly to make this center happen.”
People can register to attend the first meeting by going to www.eventbrite.com/e/108502933194.
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