LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The Seventh Annual City-Wide Black History Celebration kicked off Thursday night at the Long Chapel CME Church in Lufkin. The focus of the program was Impacting the Future of Our Youth through Positive Community Interventions and Educational Excellence.
"It is important for us to take the time to stop and reflect on what our heritage is and what our great contributions have been of those who have come before us, of those who are our ancestors, and those who have taught us the importance of faith tradition," said Rev. Valencia Edner, the pastor for Mt. Zion CME church in Center, Texas.
The guest speaker for the evening was Attorney Lydia D. Johnson, a Lufkin native and graduate of Lufkin High School. Johnson is currently an associate municipal court judge for the City of Houston. Prior to that position, Johnson was an assistant district attorney in the Harris County District Attorney's Office and since 2006 has directed the Thurgood Marshall School of Law Criminal Law Clinic in Houston.
Christel Phillips, a News Anchor for KTRE-TV, acted as the mistress of ceremonies for the event and expressed the importance of celebrating Black History.
Several key members of the community were present at the event including Rev. D'Anna Gipson, Pastor of Collins Chapel CME Church, Rev. Lynn Morris of Memorial Chapel CME Church, Rev. Robert Gipson of Long Chapel CME Church, Mrs. Sellestine Hunt, president of Lufkin Area Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, as well as Dr. LaTonya Goffney, the superintendent of Lufkin Independent School District.
The Coalition of Organizations sponsored the event including the East Texas Gear Up Project and Lufkin ISD Gear Up Project, the Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc., Angelina County Citizens Chamber of Commerce, Concerned Black Men of Lufkin, Texas, Inc., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Lufkin Area Alumnae Chapter, and the NAACP.