By Kathy Chouteau
A collective of West Contra Costa County charter middle schools will partner to host “Black + Brilliant: Building Unity in Community,” an inaugural celebration of Black excellence. Set for Sat., April 24, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., the free virtual event is open to the public and will focus on affirming identity, building community and sharing lifelong strategies for success.
Organized by Aspire Public Schools, Making Waves Academy, Caliber Schools and Richmond College Prep Schools, the event looks to bring together more than 200 students, caregivers and community leaders and will include panels of Black charter high school students and local community professionals and will also recognize Black charter educators.
“We created this event in response to feedback from our Black families,” said Tana Monteiro, Richmond College Prep School’s family and community engagement coordinator. “It’s important to have spaces which affirm Black identity and celebrate the achievements of Richmond’s Black community.”
Event attendees can choose between two panels: “Strategies for Success in High School by Black Charter High School Students” and “Strategies for Success in Career by Black Community Change Makers and Professionals. Event panelists will include: Cristal Banagan, entrepreneur; Iris Bradford, supervisor early childhood education program, UC Berkeley; Dr. Kristina Wright, co-founder, Giving the Wright Way; Lauren McCollins, community doula manager, Building Blocks for Kids; Michelle Milam, crime prevention manager, City of Richmond; and Uche Uwahemu, senior field representative for State Assemblymember Buffy Wicks.
“[This is an] opportunity to have my sons see role models of successful young Black people, to inspire my sons to strive for their rightful place on the table and show up as young black men in an authentic manner and to celebrate our Black heritage,” said Aspire Richmond California Prep parent Mr. Emmanuel.
Community members with children who identify as African American and who attend a West County charter middle school are encouraged to reach out to their school to sign up for the event and to receive a free T-shirt. The aforementioned charter school community, as well as the local members of the public, can also RSVP for the virtual event here.