VAN NUYS : African Proverb Sets Tone for Celebration

Though most Valley residents know how many people it takes to bring a baby into this world, Valley College is hoping that visitors to its Black History Celebration today will realize that "It Takes an Entire Village to Raise a Child."

That African proverb is the theme of the college's celebration, which it has billed as not just a celebration of African American History, but also as a celebration of multiculturalism in their community.

"That is a concept I think we really need to embrace in this culture," said Tyree Wieder, president of the Van Nuys college.

A morning program will present a variety of entertainment and addresses by speakers. Workshops will be held in the afternoon.

Other activities will be ongoing. According to Kathy Perdue-Nemo of the National Council of Negro Women, the organizers of the celebration, the diverse programming has been designed with "community empowerment" in mind. There will be health screenings, an economic development workshop and human service booths.

"In order to care for the children of the community, the community must be healthy, financially astute, and knowledgeable about itself," Wieder said.

There are also exhibits and activities for participants of all ages celebrating the culture and struggle of blacks both here and abroad. One photo exhibit, "Countdown to Freedom," will honor South African President and former political prisoner Nelson Mandela. Storytellers and traditional African dancers will perform. One exhibit will feature black inventors.

"The idea here is to bring a sense of continuity to the community," said Perdue-Nemo.

"We need to share a social consciousness, and this is a great avenue to achieve that."

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