EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was produced as part of the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University’s South Jersey Information Equity Project fellowship and supported with funding from the Independence Public Media Foundation.
By Sade Osuji | AC JosepH Media
WILLINGBORO — Willingboro Township’s Recreation and Parks Department celebrated Black History Month with a series of events that focused on the Black arts and health.
On Friday (Feb. 17), the nonprofit Faith in Action performed the musical “Color Me Brown” for the second time at the John F. Kennedy Center. Faith in Action held its first performance on Feb. 11.
Faith in Action gears to empowering youth and adults for service to God and their communities. The performances were the first of year for the nonprofit. The musical shared the thoughts of young people on what it means to be young, Black and Brown in America and New Jersey.
It shared history, culture, issues and celebrates the identity of all. Some of the topics touched were difficult to discuss, but in a performance light, made it easier and opens the doors for future discussions that help to heal communities.
“This show was created primarily with and for the youth voice. It is timely and allows for intergenerational thought processes and conversation,” Executive Director of Faith in Action, Dr. Amy Dean said.
Dean has been executive director since 1994. She said she believes collaborating with the
Willingboro Township Recreation Department was a great way to help fulfill Faith in Action’s mission. Faith in Action seeks to realize a full continuum of community services that link the talents and resources in the community with people who have the greatest need.
“We would like the community to know that we are here to serve and provide them a quality of life by way of our programs, events, parks, and facilities,” Dionne Bolden, the acting director of Willingboro’s Recreation and Parks said. “We have something for everyone, the young, the young at heart and our seasoned and silver generations.”
Faith in Action has performed many productions throughout the community including, “Young, Broken and Different,” an adaptation on the Fat Albert movie and “Black Panther” musical.
For the “Black Panther” production, they partnered with the Willingboro High School Vision Program. The company has taken youth and young adults overseas to Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Holland, Belgium, Britain and are looking at Ghana for 2023.
The nonprofit started an 18 through adults component for those who desire to perform and have aged out of the youth programs as well. Visit www.faithinactioninc.org or call (609) 835-7000 for more information.
“I’m so excited about the upcoming events that are happening in Willingboro,” Cynthia Edwards, a resident of Willingboro and co-commissioner of Born Leaders Baseball League. “The great part about living here is that Black History is celebrated all year.”
The BLBL is an activity under the Willingboro Recreation and Parks Department. The league teaches the foundations of baseball and how to gain independence, confidence and friends. They also hope to support families with the students’ needs in their education.
To keep the spirit of positivity and creativity flowing, an Open Mic Night: Black History Month Edition was held on Feb. 17. #ImpactfulBlack: Collaborative Efforts will hold and event with panelists, vending, and health screenings provided by South Jersey Family Medical Center on Saturday, Feb. 28 from 1-5 p.m.. There is a $50 registration fee. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
For additional information, visit the Willingboro Recreation & Parks Department website at www.willingbororec.com.
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