Last Saturday, Foxcroft students and faculty members Esther Sánchez (World Languages) and Stephanie Young ’00 (History) attended the 18th Annual Virginia Black History Month Gala held in Alexandria, VA. Foxcroft students were invited by the VaBHMA to be event hostesses for the black-tie affair, helping to seat each guest for the three-hour dinner and program.
The students who participated in the event — Trinity P. ’18, Amara B. ’19, Courtney B. ’20, Bella S. ’20, Madaleine W. ’20, Isobel D. ’21, Julia G. ’21, and Elsie R. ’21 — did a magnificent job and got a bit of a history lesson by listening to the many stories that were shared onstage that night.
“I had a wonderful time at the Gala and loved listening to the guest speaker. The Gala is a great opportunity to help out in the surrounding community and I would gladly do it again,” Isobel said.
This year’s theme, “African Americans in the Time of War,” paid homage to the many contributions, rewards, and sacrifices of African Americans throughout history.
The keynote speaker, Lamman Rucker, is an actor, activist, and former high school teacher who delivered an inspiring message that spoke to the resiliency of African Americans, especially during the era of segregation, institutional racism, and battles that extended beyond the war zone. “We’ve always been there to fight when called upon, even as we waged our own battles within America,” he said.
After retired and current military personnel were asked to stand and be recognized in the room of more than 700 people, Lamman offered special recognition to the women of that distinct group. “I want to especially thank the women for your service, because your sacrifices for this country are truly voluntary. None of you were drafted to do what you do.”
The event also welcomed special guests to the annual program, including Sarah Collins Rudolph, the only survivor of five young girls attending Sunday School on September 15, 1963, when the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing occurred in Birmingham, AL. Her older sister, Addie, was one of four girls who died that day.
Saturday’s event was memorable for everyone, including our faculty and students. “The Gala was an inspiring and uplifting event for students of all colors. The keynote speaker issued a call to action for the rights and dignity of all people in our country. It was a message that needed to be heard by minorities and allies alike,” said Ms. Young.
With plans already underway for the 2019 event, organizers have expressed interest in having Foxcroft students serve as hostesses again.
“The Virginia Black History Month Association Gala was a night of reflection on what black people have gone through to get where we are today,” said Courtney B., “and a celebration of everything we have accomplished. Everyone in that building was unified, and it was a thrilling experience.”