On Tuesday, February 15, HCN hosted our 4th annual Black History Month celebration. The program explored the art and passion of HCN's staff of Black/African descent. We were honored to have two powerful guest speakers join our celebration, Ms. Phelicia Jones and San Francisco Poet Laureate Tongo Eisen-Matin.
The program highlighted the unapologetic Blackness within our community, filling the virtual celebration with diverse voices, cultures and backgrounds. HCN staff members Lynette Sweet and Ronald Haynes were our Mistress of Ceremonies (MC) and DJ respectively for the Unapologetically Black History Month event as they welcomed the audience to W-HCN radio station.
The event was overflowing with so much talent! There were breathtaking performances from our HCN Black staff and Black guest speakers highlighting Black Excellence and Black Joy. From singing the Black national anthem to pouring libations, to poetry readings, to powerful speeches, the event captured the brilliance within each performer.
Throughout the program, our performers gave snippets of Black/African history, whether that was talking about Nigeria, exploring the history of Black inventors, diving into the story behind historical figures like Fannie Lou Hamer, featuring cultural Ethiopian dishes and coffee, or talking about the first African-American woman drafted by the NBA. The voices in our program were heard through the screen and they were Unapologetically Black.
Our MC and DJ transitioned us beautifully throughout the event by playing Black artists that each performer resonated with for their introduction.
Our powerful Guest speaker Ms. Phelicia Jones, founder and leader of Wealth and Disparities in the Black Community, took us on a journey to acknowledge those resilient people before us. By calling out names like Cicely Tyson, Whitney Houston, Prince, and Samuel Davis Jr. Ms. Jones gave us an important moment that resonated with all of us by saying, I am Black History."
With words floating like the Nile river, our program also had the honor of hosting San Francisco's very own Poet Laureate Tongo Eisen-Matin. Tongo performed with style and grace by painting a picture of Black people's reality with the power of his words, leaving the crowd with reflection and appreciation.
And most importantly, there wouldn't be an annual Black History Month celebration without HCN Executive Director Dr. April Y. Silas, who helped introduce this celebration and close it out. Dr. Silas is the glue that holds us together with strength, wisdom, courage, BLACKNESS and pride. Our Black HCN staff are encouraged to be Unapologetically Black in this space, fostering an environment for success.
From our Black guest speakers to our Black HCN performers, one thing was very clear, they were Unapologetically Black and Unapologetically proud.
HCN is grateful to all who attended the Black History Celebration. We hope you will join us again next year.