Oak Park schools, library celebrate black history

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By Terry Dean

Staff reporter

Black History Month has spawned a full slate of events this year. Here's a sampling of activities scheduled for February: 

Julian hosts Harambee

Percy Julian Middle School hosts the annual Harambee Black History Month Celebration. Sponsored by Parents of African American Children and the Longfellow PTO, the 7th annual event will be held from 7 to 9 p.m., Friday, Feb. 28, at Julian, 416 S. Ridgeland Ave., in the school auditorium. Admission is free. Performances include the Longfellow Kuumba Kids Dance Troupe and Julian's Outland African Drumming students. The event features an African marketplace of wares, including handmade jewelry, African artifacts and Jamaican cuisine. For more info: 708-363-2357 or 773-507-0191.

OP Library hosts Kuumba Kids Live

On Saturday Feb. 15, the Oak Park Public Library hosts "Kuumba Kids Live." The show, featuring Oak Park youth performances, starts at 10:30 a.m., in the Veterans Room. The main library is located at 834 Lake St. (708-383-8200). 

Black Professionals Day at OPRF

Oak Park and River Forest High School hosts Black Professionals Day, Wednesday, Feb. 19. The 14th annual event is sponsored by the African-American Staff and Faculty Advisory Committee (AAFSAC) at OPRF. The event brings in African Americans from various professional fields to talk with students. The day begins at 8 a.m. with a continental breakfast and student registration. District 200 Board of Education members Jackie Moore and Ralph Lee are scheduled to make opening remarks, followed by OPRF Principal Nathaniel Rouse. The full day's schedule is as follows:

8 a.m. Continental breakfast, meet-n-greet with presenters, staff and students; second-floor library at OPRF, 201 N. Scoville Ave.

8:45 to 9 a.m. Introduction of presenters, with opening remarks and conference guidelines by Dr. Ralph Lee and Dr Jackie Moore (D200 school board members) and Principal Nate Rouse

9 a.m. Breakout sessions (1 & 2) with students and presenters 

10:25 a.m. 10-minute break

10:35 a.m. Breakout sessions (3 & 4) with students and presenters

12 p.m. Closing remarks by the day's keynote speaker                                         

12:30 p.m. Lunch in the school's Kettlestrings Café on the fourth floor, featuring soul food and vegetarian offerings catered by the school's Advanced Foods class

For more information: 708-383-0700  

National African-American Parent Involvement Day

The 19th annual National African-American Parent Involvement Day (NAAPID) dinner is Wednesday, Feb. 19, at Oak Park and River Forest High School, 201 N. Scoville Ave. The event is from 6 to 8 p.m. in the North Cafeteria and is sponsored by the African-American Faculty and Staff Advisory Committee (AAFSAC). This year's dinner includes performances by the OPRF Gospel Choir and Spoken Word Club. The scheduled keynote speaker is Ken Speller, executive director of Software Test Engineering for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group. Speller is a graduate of Tennessee State University and is currently a member of 100 Black Men of Chicago.

CONTACT: tdean@wjinc.com

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