By John Coleman
Times change. People come and go. Stuff happens. Who, if anyone, benefits? What remains? Should some things be continued? Who gets involved? Who cares? Questions, questions, and more questions. And, if you seek answers — another question. Where might one start?
Look for leadership.
Such was the case in the ‘60s when Roosevelt Elementary School teacher Robert Slush called together a few community members to establish an organization then named African American Cultural Association (AACA).
Or, in the ‘70s under the leadership of social worker, Wilbur Brown, the AACA along with the group “Kutania People Helping People” began the first Ms. Black San Bernardino Pageant and Bronica Martindale reigned as the inaugural Ms. Black San Bernardino.
During the 1980s, the AACA having become the main provider of numerous Black culture programs, events, and services under Jim King and Juanita Scott saw the need to reorganize it, register it as a non-profit public service organization, and rename it as the San Bernardino Black Culture Foundation (SBBCF).
During this span of time the association/foundation’s most notable service has been the annual San Bernardino Black History Parade. In the early morning hours while the air is cool and crisp, the community would line up on San Bernardino’s west side to witness the annual Black history parade.
In 2012, the SBBCF turned the San Bernardino Black History Parade over to the Inland Cities East Chapter of the Southern California Black Chamber of Commerce.
The process of change is unstoppable. But the history of the SBBCF early years is evident and leaders such as Slush, Brown, King and Scott could impact the direction and course of change.
The SBBCF is but one of many groups, organizations, and agencies in this community. Strong, creative, energetic leaders; Past, present, and future; Look around, identify, encourage, support, and JOIN THEM.
The SBBCF recently held an open house at the Henderson Auditorium of San Bernardino Community Hospital to report on the Foundation’s continuing programs for promoting African American Culture, and community impact. The next project will be a workshop on June 8, 2013 regarding financial aid opportunities and resources for higher education. Although the SBBCF has awarded approximately $300,000 in scholarships to high school graduates from local schools, the scholarship needs are growing faster than scholarship income. The SBBCF committees meet monthly at the SB Community Hospital.
Leaders, volunteers, contributors, and anyone interested can reach the SBBCF at P.O. Box 7288, San Bernardino, CA 92410, calling 909.888.1696 or visiting their website at www.sbbcfoundation.org.