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City of Santa Monica Highlights Service and Leadership During Black History Month

City of Santa Monica Highlights Service and Leadership During Black History Month

January 30, 2020 4:00 PM

City of Santa Monica Highlights Service and Leadership During Black History Month

SANTA MONICA, Calif. – The City of Santa Monica’s Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) cohort is celebrating Black history with events on February 4 and February 25 honoring African-American service and leadership.  

"This is an exciting opportunity to bring the Santa Monica community together to celebrate Black history and culture,” said Delana G. Gbenekama, the City’s GARE representative spearheading the events. “I want people to leave feeling proud of their heritage, and I also want community members to walk away knowing they learned something new.”

The kickoff event on Rosa Parks Day, Tuesday, February 4, begins at 10:30 a.m. in front of Santa Monica City Hall. The event will highlight the historical significance of the Divine Nine (nine historical Black fraternities and sororities) in African-American life, including education and politics, and their strong commitment to community service. It will feature a panel discussion with City leaders who will speak about their Divine Nine experiences, followed by a step show performance presented by Africa in America™, a brand founded by choreographer and dancer Kara Mack that specializes in African Diasporic music, dance, arts and culture in America. Africa in America™ will collaborate with choreographer and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. member Jamal Josef, whose step choreography was featured in Beyoncé’s history making Coachella performance, and dancers Christopher Battle, Russell Scott and Harold Daniels III. Divine Nine members are encouraged to wear their Greek paraphernalia to the event. Refreshments will be served. 

On Tuesday, February 25, the City will honor Black professionals in Santa Monica during the Celebrating Black Excellence mixer from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the 1300 block of the Third Street Promenade between Santa Monica Boulevard and Arizona Avenue. Refreshments will be served. The GARE Black History Month Committee invites the public to submit nominations for Black professionals who will be honored at the event. Nominees must live or work in Santa Monica. Nominations must include a few sentences about how the nominee demonstrates outstanding leadership or service. The deadline for submissions is February 15. Nominations can be submitted at this link. 

For a full list of Black History Month events in Santa Monica, visit 

GARE is a national network of government working to achieve racial equity and opportunities for all. The City of Santa Monica has been a member of GARE since 2017.  

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