Our Voices: Black History Month

As we pay tribute to African American history and heritage this month, Arizona PBS would like to share reflections on the black experience from these members of our community:

Caress Russell, aka Lady Caress, performs “Bred for This.” A poet and public speaker, she has spent more than 10 years impacting youth and adult audiences. In “Bred for This,” she expresses the plight that African Americans have faced throughout the nation’s history. Through captivating and rhythmic poetry, Lady Caress shows us that despite the unthinkable adversity African Americans have faced, it couldn’t hold them down. Watch her inspiring — and Emmy-winning — performance above.

David Hemphill, executive director of the Black Theatre Troupe, speaks (above) about his experience with racism while growing up as a Black man. Hemphill shares a difficult memory from his past while explaining that he can’t give up hope. He finds power in that hope and in his uniquely important identity — it moves him to educate young people to this day.

Retha Hill is a journalist and director of the New Media Innovation Lab at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Hill reflects (above) upon the importance of understanding Black culture and the many ways that she sees it in the world around her. Describing African American culture as dynamic and multidimensional, she has pride in every aspect of it. Whether it’s through food, dance or even something as simple as expressing love, Hill finds hope.

Cloves C. Campbell Jr. is the publisher of the Arizona Informant, a black family-owned and led newsprint media publication. Campbell features the achievements of the Black community through informational and positive stories, giving a spotlight to those that feel underrepresented in the media. Read our full conversation and learn more about his activism for Black representation.

Jimmy Scroggins, the founder of the 4Life Foundation, has been actively engaged in helping children in his community for the last six years. His main goal is to encourage the youth of Arizona to keep pushing and find their passion. Read the rest of the interview to learn what Scroggins and the 4Life Foundation do.

Dr. Warren H. Stewart, Sr., the senior pastor of the First Institutional Baptist Church, is a well-respected man in the Phoenix community due to his spiritual leadership and rich activism. Over the years he has been committed to defending civil rights and paving the way for social justice in Arizona. Read his conversation with Arizona PBS.

Janelle Wood is a Phoenix-based minister who founded the Black Mothers Forum in the fall of 2016. Wood and her group strive to dismantle systemic racism and create a safer environment for Black children and families. Read the full interview to learn more.

MORE: Explore Arizona PBS’ on-air programming for Black History Month.

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