Celebrating Black History: Community Center event educates and engages residents

NASHUA – Several state and local officials engaged in a productive conversation related to Black History Month, Saturday at the Arlington Street Community Center.

The event featured guest speakers Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess, New Hampshire Senator Melanie Levesque, former state Representative Harvey Keye, state Representative and Nashua Alderwoman Linda Harriott-Gathright, Board of Education member and Greater Nashua Area Branch NAACP President Gloria J. Timmons, Director of New Hampshire Black Heritage Trail JerriAnne Boggis, and BOE member and Nashua South High School student Jamilia-Ashanti Scales.

Event organizer Jordan Thompson, a local activist and community organizer, said the work he is doing at the Arlington Street facility is centered around educating others.

“It’s about amplifying marginalized communities through cultural awareness,” he said. “That’s what we did here today and that’s what we’ll continue to do. This is a great venue, especially for this neighborhood. The center offers so many incredible services to communities of all different economic and socioeconomic backgrounds. I’m just very proud to be doing this kind of work.”

The afternoon symposium also featured a screening of the Peabody award-winning documentary, “Chisholm ’72–Unbrought and Unbossed,” the first historical film on Brooklyn Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm and her campaign to become the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee in 1972.

In addition, the forum featured a question and answer discussion, often punctuated by Keye.

“It’s not about white supremacy, or black supremacy. It’s about green supremacy,” he said. “With money, you can do anything you want.”

Levesque commented on the importance of Saturday’s event, including its impact on the city and the younger voices that are being heard.

“Having events that celebrate Black History Month, like this one, makes a difference to the community,” she said. “That’s because we feel that our history is being remembered in a positive way. It is a tragic history, certainly. But there’s a lot of constructive things that came out of our shared history. And it’s really heartwarming to see Jordan, the young man that’s sponsoring this. Interest like his is keeping this alive. But also, it’s not just African-Americans that are here today. There are people of all cultures, color and ethnicities. It is a shared history and we should all learn more about each other,” Levesque said.