Safronia Perry, Hope Station’s executive director, has a simple reason to attend this Saturday’s Black History Festival.
“Black history is everybody’s history,” she said.
Hope Station’s fourth annual Black History Festival will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Hamilton Elementary, 735 Clay St., Carlisle.
This year’s festival celebrates community roots, and will recognize the Hodge, Stackfield and Jordan families who have long histories in the town. A member of the board researched the families at Cumberland County Historical Society, and their stories will be shared in the festival’s brochure, which will be available at the event.
Highlighting the role of families like these is an important factor in recalling black history, Perry said.
“It doesn’t have to be that black history has to be just about people that did all these fantastic things that we learned about. It can just be about family. Family is important,” she said.
Entertainment for the festival includes African jazz with Emmanual Nsingani and Friends, Exiled Spoken Word, Goolie Vog and Albert Hall.
The Jim Washington Station of Hope Award will be presented at 11:45 a.m., and will be followed by the Rooted in African-American Music Fashion Show.
Perry said she was pleaded that the Delta Sigma Theta sorority has come back to Dickinson College, and will be performing a step show.
Jason Diggs and Tereka Porter will emcee the event with Porter also serving as DJ.
About 33 vendors from as far away as Harrisburg and Philadelphia were scheduled to be at the festival offering jewelry, clothing, natural hair products and other goods for sale as well as providing information about programs and resources.
“We’re always pleased with having resource vendors, but being able to showcase black entrepreneurs is so important,” Perry said. “It’s important to me that people see these people and what they’re doing, that people also spend their dollars.”
She said the community needs to know that they have the option to buy from black-owned businesses and maybe even inspire some to open a business since there are not many black-owned businesses in Carlisle.
“Of course, we definitely need to support our people and what they’re doing, but I think everybody should support them just as we spend our monies in Walmart and different stores here,” Perry said.
The festival has grown from its first year when the idea for a festival came up one November at a Hope Station board meeting, and was ready to go the following February because so many people had jumped on board with the planning. It’s something that the organization can be proud of, Perry said.
“All of our events should be focused on making sure that we’re helping people but at the same time we’re celebrating people. We’re celebrating blackness.” she said.
The timing of the festival this year is important as it has the potential to bring people together at a time when the community is hurting after KKK flyers were distributed in some neighborhoods earlier this month, Perry said. After the flyers were discovered, many asked what they could do, and the festival provides an option.
“Why don’t you come and support us? Why don’t you come and see and support some of the things that we’re doing? Come and celebrate us and celebrate with us,” Perry said.