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Written By Julanda Clark - In honor of Black History Month, Club members from four of our Northeast Florida Boys & Girls Clubs performed inspiring skits and dances to commemorate our nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The skits detailed the history surrounding the nation’s first HBCUs and included historical facts about the institutions. Club members’ step performances demonstrated through dance, the different missions and styles of predominantly black sororities and fraternities.

The ‘HBCU Experience,’ is an educational showcase to help audiences better understand the struggles and triumphs many Black Americans faced to achieve equality in education throughout the nation. Event keynote speaker and Tuskegee University student, Ingrid Thomas, shared her positive experiences while attending an HBCU and offered parents advice on applying for colleges and scholarships. The event was held at Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School on Friday, February 15.

Katrina Rogers, Project SOS In-School Coordinator for Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida and event organizer commented on the importance of the HBCU Experience and what it meant to Club members and the community. “The purpose of the HBCU program is to show students the importance of education and for them to learn about the major sacrifices many made to become something through education - even right here in Jacksonville, Florida. We want students to be inspired and know the community and Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida is behind them.”

Briana Mackey and Jah’kyra Rodman performed two liturgical dances. The first dance represented the glory of black people rising and continuing to fight for equality. The second dance represented the spirit of black people and their achievements of excellence. Audiences viewed clips from a documentary entitled Tell Them We Are Rising, The Story of Black Colleges and Universities,” which detailed the history and success of blacks who attended HBCUs.

The goal Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida is to be an advocate for all youth and teens, providing them with a platform for their voices to be heard. By hosting this event, we hope to give Club members the platform to speak about the importance of collegiate success and experiences. It is important that all our Club members have the tools and information needed to create their own great futures.