My weekend started first thing Saturday morning Dec. 3 2011 at the First Church of the Open Bible in Lauderdale Lakes Florida. The Urban League of Broward County was hosting their 7th Annual Community Prayer Breakfast. The breakfast was attended by community members, community leaders, elected officials, clergyman and clergywoman. The theme of the event was praying for the economic development of our community. Several pastors gave inspiring speeches and prayers encouraging us to keep to prayer and not be discouraged by our countries current economic situation. The President and CEO of the Urban League of Broward County, Germaine Smith-Baugh was also one of the speakers. She gave an inspiring speech highlighting some of the accomplishments of the Urban League of Broward County to include their new Community Empowerment Center, located along Sistrunk Blvd., just south of the African American Research Library in Fort Lauderdale.
The highlight of the morning for me was a magnificent performance by a youth group called Perfected Praise Arts Ministry. 13 young men and woman walked into the Church dressed in black with their faces painted white, they took their seats and waited patiently for their cue. They were called up to start their performance, and then the magic started. It was like they turned on a switch. The background music started and they executed a beautifully choreographed contemporary dance presentation. They took turns performing individually at the center of the Church. They were engaging the audience by approaching them while lip-syncing and performing dramaturgy. The youth group performed in harmony complementing each other and most importantly they had fun. Judging by the standing ovation at the end of the performance, I wasnt the only one who enjoyed the presentation. My hats off to Tammy Amerson and her Perfected Praise Arts Ministry.
The next day, Sunday December 4th, 2011. The South Florida Islamic Community in partnership with the Urban League of Broward County hosted their first ever CommunityFest. CommunityFest 2011 was a joint venture designed to bring the community together and give back. There were over 400 in attendance throughout the day. Joining the celebration was Courtnee Biscardi of the Urban League of Broward County, Lauderhill's Police Chief Andrew Smalling, Norman Heming of the US Attorney's office and Rolland Folks Broward County's School Board Diversity Committee Chair. Each gave and inspiring speech promoting unity, community service and inclusion. Lauderhill PD, Lauderhill Fire Rescue and the Broward Sheriff's office were also present engaging with the community. CommunityFest 2011 successfully gave away 15 bikes, over one thousand soft toys, offered free medical checks, clothes, shoes and canned food. We had bounce houses, obstacle courses, cotton candy, popcorn and snow cones.
Throughout the day I noticed a little girl that kept visiting the tables with the toys. She was so cute, but she looked concerned, I asked my wife to see if she was okay. My wife told me that she was worried that someone was going to get a toy that she really, really wanted. The toy giveaway hadn't started yet, however I told my wife to go get the toy and give it to her early. When she got the toy her face lit up like a shining star. The look on her face was priceless and if I remember one thing about that day, it will be how happy she was. God willing CommunityFest will continue to grow and next year's event will be bigger and better for our community.
What a wonderful weekend. The South Florida community came together in prayer and celebration of our diversity to promote inclusion, multiculturalism and tolerance. This is the South Florida that I grew up in; this is why I'm proud to be a South Floridian.