This Year’s African-American Celebration Focuses on Health and the Future

Cary, NC – For more than 20 years, Cary has celebrated Black History Month with the African-American Celebration, bringing a mix of discussions and entertainment. This year’s event includes talks about continuing the work of significant black community members into the future, ways for people to eat healthy and musicians playing a variety of styles.

The Future of Black History

The 22nd Annual African-American Celebration, taking place at the Cary Theater and Cary Town Hall on Saturday, February 23, 2018, will culminate around the discussion of “the Future of Black History” and how different intellectual disciplines and generations can be bridged when it comes to talking about black history. For the discussion, which will take place at Town Hall’s council chambers, consultant and Building Bridges charter member Tru Pettigrew will lead a panel of people from various sectors of life:

  • Rev. Mycal Brickhouse, senior pastor at Cary First Christian Church
  • Chief Patrice Andrews, Morrisville Police Department
  • Justice Paul Newby, North Carolina Supreme Court
  • Mamta Bisarya, co-founder of Hum Sub
  • Patrick Patterson, President, Global Partners for Fathers & Families
  • Fiorella Horna, owner of Fiorella Consulting

In addition, this segment of the celebration will include a keynote address by Melvin Russel, chief of the Community Partnership Division for the Baltimore Police Department, a department which is undergoing corruption investigations by the Baltimore city council.

“The Future of Black History” starts at Cary Town Hall at 2 PM.

While the central discussion of the celebration is focused on bridging divides between generations and communities, the theme of the event is “Eat Well, Live Well, Be Well: Working to Improve Equal Opportunities for Health in the African-American Communities.” According to data from the Center for Disease Control’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, African-Americans have higher rates of stroke, diabetes and high blood pressure than white Americans and the divide only gets wider with age. African-Americans aged 18 to 49 are twice as likely to die from heart disease than white Americans the same age.

There will be discussions about community healthcare and wellness, including a talk by Durham’s Chef Kabui. The health portion of the event takes place at the Cary Theater at 11 AM.

Data from the Center for Disease Control

Musical Performances

The yearly event would not be complete without the annual performances by area musicians. This year includes a blend of various forms of music rooted in African-American history.

This blend is best demonstrated through the band Crucial Fiya, who are known primarily for their reggae music but mix in influences from R&B and rock ‘n’ roll.

Also performing are the Make A Joyful Youth Performing Arts Outreach Ministry, as well as Raleigh blues musician Rev. William D. Burton.

The event is presented by the Town of Cary and the Ujima Group, Inc.

Reggae band Crucial Fiya

Event Details

22nd Annual African-American Celebration

11 AM – The Cary Theater, 122 E Chatham St.

2 PM – Cary Town Hall, 316 N Academy St.


Story by staff reports. Photos courtesy of the Cary Theater and the Center for Disease Control.

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