Black History Month: Fontana Parade and S.B. County Events
By Dianne Anderson
This year, Fontana’s 56th Black History Parade & Expo parade is all the way live with flags, drums, marching bands, and a place where kids and grownups alike can pose with the iconic Wakanda Black Panther, and of course, enjoy legendary R&B Lakeside.
Ellen Turner, president of the Concerned Citizens of the Development of North Fontana, said the key to getting people out is to have something they can relate to.
“We also have the San Bernardino Pacesetters, and Summit High School Majorettes are doing steps like HBCU’s and their coach is Dr. Glover, our hometown Grand Marshal,” she said.
On Saturday, February 24, the parade starts at 10:00 a.m., and runs to 3:00 p.m. The parade lineup starts at Summit Ave and Citrus to Sierra Lakes Parkway for the Expo.
Grand Marshals include NFL football player Kenneth Clark from Carter High School in Rialto, and local pilot Xavier Palmer, who worked at NASA, served as a United States Air Force pilot and current president of the Tuskegee Airmen organization. Also featured is Hometown Grand Marshal Dr. Sabina Glover and their Celebrity Grand Marshal on stage, Lakeside’s Capt’n Mark Wood.
One Love Jamaica, a five-star restaurant is coming out from San Diego, and Turner plans to be first in line for their famous oxtail plate.
Every year, she keeps her mother’s dream by shining the community spotlight on local achievers, which was the basis for starting the city’s Black History Parade in 1968. It was inspired by a message from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. two months before his assassination.
Back then, as now, racism wasn’t just relegated to the South. Fontana was infested with the Klan and racism and Black people were only allowed to live in the underdeveloped area of North Fontana.
For both kids and adults, Crafty Mobile is handling the photo booth for pictures with Grand Marshals, and Black Panther. Local talent also features Miss Black Awareness Queen Khaleena Brown, who is tiny with a mighty voice.
“She’s nine years old, but she sings like Whitney Houston. She’s got so many appearances,” Turner said.
With over 50 entries, the parade is down to the wire, but calls come to the last minute. She said it’s a great opportunity for businesses to come out, and they always draw over 1,000 in attendance.
“The day of the parade, even if I say I won’t accept more entries, I will accept more entries,” she laughs.
In San Bernardino, students and community are invited out to San Bernardino Valley College, where they are exploring film, visual performing arts, and the roots and implications of Blaxploitation.
For some, it was a foot in the door. For others, they cringed.
“The societal portrayal of Blacks and historical standpoint compared to where we are today to the political aspect – the bourgeoisie level Blacks were against it the most. We’ll also talk about the business component,” said Giles, vice president of Black Faculty and Staff, and EOPS/ CARE Counselor.
Then, Blacks were shut out of Hollywood and had to make do with what they had, but it allowed them to get behind the scenes in writing, in camera, and audio production. It represented inroads into an off-limits industry.
But he is disturbed to see how the Black community still has little or no control over its images, or record companies.
“We don’t own the things that push the imagery of us. We don’t control that, there is a wave of materialism capitalism pressed upon us for so long. I think it’s toxic for our youth,” said Giles, also an advisor for BROTHERS, Brothers Reaching Out to Help Everyone Reach Success.
That program improves conditions for Black male students on campus, who usually have the least support in school, connections, or relationships.
He can relate.
“When I go to rooms full of my peers and other professionals, I’m often one of one, or very few, I understand that plight,” he said. “With BROTHERS, the work is to provide comfort and a pool of resources. In some instances, these young men just need someone to talk to as they navigate this maze of college and life.”
On February 10, Linda Hart also unveils her new reading program, launching their small library of special Black History readings, including those of the late Dr. Joseph A. Bailey II.
“Dr. Bailey is one of the little-known Black doctors from IE. He wrote over 300 books, renowned for inventions in orthopedics, and a hip device. We are having a grand opening in the office with an area where people can read his writings,” said Hart, founder and CEO of the African American Health Coalition.
For those looking to learn more about readings in ancient African History, she said Black History Month continues beyond February with resources open during weekdays from 3:00-6:00 p.m.
“The kids and adults from this area, if they knew there were writers and inventors and doctors, I’m hoping this will inspire them,” she said.
She also co-hosts a Swahili class at New Hope Family Life Center, taught by a local engineering graduate from Kenya. The next rotating class starts on Saturday, February 17, covering the culture and language. She said there are plans to visit Africa where they will use the information they learn.
In the High Desert, panels of Black business owners, Black elected officials and Black faith leaders will come out to share how they grow their brand, their policy, and their ministry.
Terrance Stone, president of the High Desert Black Chamber of Commerce, said his region, including Victorville, Adelanto, Apple Valley and surrounding cities, has one of the highest populations of African Americans.
On February 24, he is bringing everyone together at Adelanto Stadium from 11 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. For the High Desert Black Business Summit to network around like-minded people.
“We have the Ebony Triangle and the Moreno Valley area, but the High Desert is popping and growing with Black folks. The goal is that while they’re here, there is a lot who are interested in business,” he said.
Tickets are $100, the same as the last event, which he said sold out. They will have a low-rider car show in the parking lot, and lots of vendor booths.
“We’re going to have soul food being served live music. It’s going to be a real upbeat vibe, not one of those boring situations, but the main goal is delivering the information in the High Desert,” he said.
For more information:
For the High Desert Black Business Summit, call (909) 910-7327