Do your assignmentLocals gather together to encourage, pray in celebration of diversity
By Bryce Kelly, Mt. Pleasant News
The 22nd Annual African American History Celebration on Saturday brought fellowship, prayer, music, history and of course, a bounty of food, to guests of the annual celebration.
Held every year in conjunction with Black History Month, the event, which took place at the Second Baptist Ministries building, in Mt. Pleasant, strives to celebrate diversity and a bright future for all Henry County citizens.
Black History Month, otherwise known as National African American History Month, is an annual nationwide celebration of achievements made by black Americans and a time designated for recognizing the role of African Americans in United States history. Since 1976, every United States president has designated the month of February as Black History Month.
Not restricted to America, other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating black history.
“We must always remember that African American history is and always will be American history all year long,” said Gabrielle Stokes, of Mt. Pleasant, an attendee of Saturday’s event.
Stokes also spoke Saturday in detail regarding the origins and purpose of African American History Month, and encouraged locals to educate themselves on the integral individuals who have worked to help achieve equal rights for Americans of all ethnicities and backgrounds.
In addition, John Henriksen, the current superintendent of the Mt. Pleasant Community School District, was honored as the afternoon’s keynote speaker by event coordinator, Betty Mullen. An educator, husband and father, Henriksen argued that all positive, influential leaders in American history knew and followed through on the assignments God had tasked them with. As a result of their obedience, he said, the United States as a country has benefited.
“It’s good that we are all here celebrating the accomplishments of Americans who have done their assignment,” he said, referencing various leaders in the Civil Rights movement and those who came before who paved the way for what was to come in the 1960s and beyond.
“At the time of their accomplishments, though, there was no celebration. They were just doing the assignment God has given them…if Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson or Martin Luther King, Jr., hadn’t been ready and willing to do their assignment even when it wasn’t easy, where would we be today?” Henriksen continued.
Furthermore, Henriksen took time to encourage local leaders and young people who are working towards making positive differences in the world simply by helping others.
“There are so many local people in our community that are going out, doing their assignment, and making the world a better place for mankind, and we need to celebrate their work as blessings on our community,” he said. “Red, yellow, black or white, we are all precious in God’s sight. God has an assignment for each of us that will help and bless others. Today, I just want to encourage folks to go out and follow through with that assignment.”