For San Bernardino the yearly event that transcended all racial barriers while celebrating the rich heritage of both the local and national Black History Month leaders and heroes had been celebrated for 43 continuous years with a community parade. The parade has been a cornerstone for the community and the idea of having it ripped from the heart of all those that participate in this free family event from the students to the local businesses, churches, and clubs, losing their beloved Black History Month Parade can be a devastating blow.
Past organizers of the parade lost their city funding so another group, the San Bernardino Chapter of the Black Chamber of Commerce would not let the parade go down without a fight. Even though they were starting with zero dollars and faced a short deadline of only a few weeks, the group decided to take on the challenge.
After all the San Bernardino Black History Parade is the longest running in the entire country with this years parade having historical significance since it's also the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech.
Everyone in the Black Chamber of Commerce hit the ground running to try and solve funding and parade location obstacles. The National Orange Show turned out to be the perfect location. That way they could not only have a place for the parade and all those that wanted to march and participate in that venue, but could support an expo for local businesses, vendors, and non profit community services.
With Chamber member connections in the entertainment community, and the response about coming to the event to perform so positive, they had to add another stage for entertainers in addition to the judge grandstand. The live performances will happen before and after the parade.
Nonstop excitement and talent will be coming from the stage. Come by and listen or join in and find out just how fun line dancing can be. A local faith based exercise program will get you moving to the music. Dancing has a way of burning calories with fun instead of work and will be one of the many health messages that will be woven throughout the event.
The parade planning committee understands the importance of getting services to the people. So many that need care are hard to reach and unaware of low cost services available to them in the city and why the Chamber has invited those organizations to participate as well.
Black History Month is the perfect time to bring attention to the fact that the African American population is at high health risk compared to other racial groups. The disparity is so great it can make those that take the time to understand the differences to stop in their tracks in shock.
According to the report “Race, Ethnicity and the Health of Americans" by the Sydney S. Spivack Program in Applied Social Research and Social Policy not only do African Americans live on average five years less than whites, but Black men live the shortest lives of all. A gay African American man is ten times more likely to get an HIV related disease than a white man. One upsetting statistic is how this group receives the least amount of screening tests even if on a Medicare or Medical program. A problem that can stem from health practitioner attitudes about the ability of the patient to know they have a problem and dismiss the need for the test.
The report also thought it was important to note that the African American culture is a model for fostering healthy minds. Cultural traditions support community involvement such as participating in group and family events, going to church and being involved in church activities. Their closeness is part of a community infrastructure that also provides the perfect environment for strong mental health and why this group has the lowest rates for mental health illness of any other ethnicity.
Perhaps community closeness that Dr. King felt in his church and community was something he saw missing from other places. Bringing people together could help others heal and gain strength like the healing he had witnessed in his life. Events such as the San Bernardino Black History Month parade can help define us as a community, bring us together, and make us stronger and are worth saving. Without them all we can hope is that our children will somehow rediscover their importance, but the tradition in the true sense will never be the same.
With mental health and detachment being at the cause of some of the most tragic of events in recent weeks, we all should look around at what might be missing in the lives of these young people.
We know that when people feel they are surrounded by a community that cares and will be there for them if they get sick or need help will have stronger feelings of confidence to get up and join in on community activities instead of staying isolated and sitting in front of a television set. According to Dr. Peter T. Katzmarzyk in "Sedentary behaviour and life expectancy in the USA, July 2012" just getting out and living life and being active can be a game changer for how long we live.
Anyone wanting to participant in the festivities can plan on staying the entire day. The expo component of the event will be ongoing from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. The parade will march from 11-12 noon on each side of the expo activities, Vendor and restroom facilities will be easily accessible near the grand stand. This event is the perfect opportunity for the community to come together and “SAVE THE PARADE.”
Everything is coming down to the wire with the big day Saturday, February 2nd, 2013. There is so much more the parade planning committee needs to make it all happen in the style it deserves.
They’re looking for parade participants. Does your club or group want to be a part of the parade? Do you participate in a car club and know people with convertibles?
Don’t miss this historical event of the longest running Black History Parade in the country on the 50th anniversary of the famous speech by Dr. King that has inspired people of all races to pass racial barriers and respect and help each other. An important lesson for our children to take with them, and adults that want to feel the love of community.
Anyone can help support the parade with participation or donations by going to the SmartHealthTalk.com website and clicking on any parade or Black History Month graphics. That takes you right to the parade sign up page.
Find the right form for being in the parade on the BlackChamberofCommerce.org website. Choose vendor, non profit, or donor, and fill out the form and process it all right there. Keep scrolling down to access all information.
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