By Tiffiny Gaston |Staff Writer|
The 44th annual Black History Month parade and expo was held Feb. 2 at the National Orange Show in San Bernardino.
The parade, sponsored by the Southern California Black Chamber of Commerce (SCBCC), marks the official start of Black History Month.
SCBCC is a nonprofit business organization dedicated to improving the economic environment for minority businesses.
According to the blackchamberofcommerce.org, “The SCBCC has served member businesses since 1993, enabling them to prosper through mutual cooperation and support.”
The SCBCC dedicates their time to raising awareness about the importance of Black History Month.
Black History Month was founded by Carter Godwin Woodson, an African American historian, author and journalist.
According to historyking.com, “Initially called Black History Week in the year 1926, the celebrations were extended for the entire month of February from 1976 onward. This was to honor and pay tribute to the Blacks who helped shape America’s history, culture, tradition and society.”
Woodson created Black History Month to educate people about the contributions African Americans made to American society.
Kandyce Hall, Associated Students Inc. (ASI) Vice President said, “I think it’s important for everyone, not just black people, to learn about important people, who happen to be amusing, who came up with useful tools we use in everyday life.”
SCBCC partnered with San Bernardino and the National Orange Show for the first time this year.
This year’s parade theme celebrated the 50th year anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
According to blackchamberofcommerce.org, “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech can be considered one of the greatest speeches in American history.
Over 200,000 Americans gathered in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963 to hear Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. deliver this groundbreaking speech.”
Student Aunjolay Lambert believes that Black History Month is not only important for the African American community, but is important for Americans as a whole.
“Black History Month is important because it tells a story about our history as Americans whether your African-American, Caucasian-American, Asian-American or Hispanic-American,” said Lambert.
“The importance of Black History Month is about remembering where we came from and where we’re going as Americans,” continued Lambert.
According to the San Bernardino Sun, the Southern California Black Chamber of Commerce honors the deceased civil-rights leader’s dream by celebrating his legacy in one of the longest running Black History parades in the U.S.
The parade featured Jim Pickens Jr. of the ABC drama “Grey’s Anatomy” as grand marshall.
Other parade participants included former NFL official Al Jury and former Assemblywoman Wilmer Amina Carter.