In honor of Black History Month, communities across South Florida are gathering to uplift Black voices and recognize their strength and perseverance throughout U.S. history. February is also a chance to shed light on the ongoing oppression and struggles African Americans face. This past weekend two festivals took place that were free to the community and filled with activities for the entire family.
At Downtown Miami’s The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, the fourth annual Heritage Fest: Black Resistance was hosted by DJ Nickymix and featured a free gospel performance by Rev. Melvin Dawson and The Genesis Fellowship Delegation. Attendees participated in dance workshops, painted, conversed with local authors, and partook in tasty treats such as ice cream and frozen cups. Youngsters listened to book readings.
Vendors in the marketplace had the opportunity to showcase their products and increase brand awareness.
“Our products are mainly geared towards natural hair care, and I felt the need for us to have [some] that catered to our hair type,” said Gladys Wills-Major, creator of Epiphanii Hair & Body Care. “For many years I wore chemical [relaxers] in my hair and I just said, ‘No I’m not going to do it any longer/’ […] So I started my business because there was a need, and it began to grow.”
Further north was the Caribe Arts festival, which was presented by the North Miami CRA. The annual festival celebrated Caribbean and American work. Attendees joined in on the fun at the kids’ art zone, the drum circle, and the pop-up exhibits. That is not to mention there were tons of delicious foods to choose from. This multi-genre fiesta highlighted the community’s culture and creativity.
While Black History Month celebrates those who sacrificed for us, it’s important to recognize there is much further to go.