Together, the Gifford Youth Achievement Center (GYAC) and the Indian River County Parks and Recreation department celebrated Black History Month by hosting a free outdoor flick on Friday, February 26. The event took place at the Victor Hart Sr. Enhancement Complex on Wilson/Chisolm Field, and The Saussie Pig food truck served freshly prepared food and beverages.
The featured flick was the very first mainstream black superhero film, Black Panther. The movie became a cultural phenomenon when it premiered – opening up the dialogue and personal reflections about black identity in America. With nearly an all-black cast, helmed by a black director, set to a black soundtrack and using an African storyline, the film’s success and thought-provoking discussion on black empowerment demonstrates the importance of diverse representation in Hollywood.
Students, chaperoned by GYAC teachers, also had the opportunity to attend the evening event as part of the Center’s afterschool program, which celebrated the achievements of Black Americans, both locally and worldwide, throughout the month of February. Wilson/Chisolm Field offered students, staff and families plenty of space to enjoy the movie from a social distance.
An outdoor movie night was not the only way GYAC celebrated Black History Month. The entire Center was transformed into a unique history lesson with decorated doors depicting stories of African American achievers, known locally and around the world. GYAC students also presented a Black History Program called “Who Am I”. Behind a closed door, students told the story of well-known Black achievers. Then, dressed in character, they revealed their identity. Guest speaker, Tony Brown, Indian River NAACP President addressed students and offered both hope and history as food for thought and inspiration.
For more information about GYAC and the Center’s afterschool and adult and senior programs, visit www.gyac.net.
Gifford Youth Achievement Center, a 501(c)(3), opened its doors in 1998 with the sole purpose of enhancing the academic performance of children in Indian River County. The nonprofit organization, governed by a volunteer board of directors, focuses on vulnerable students who live in the Gifford community and surrounding municipalities of Indian River County. In addition to year-round educational programs and activities for youth, GYAC provides activities for adults and seniors citizens, such as exercise classes, bible study and educational training. The Center also hosts job fairs, health clinics, community gatherings and serves as an information hub for those in need of services.