We appreciate you so much taking your time to come out and celebrate with us, for our sixth year, woo-woo! (audience clapping)
Woo-woo! We have some exciting things that are going to happen today, and we promise we’re going to try to keep this within an hour. Okay, so thank you for taking your lunch time or your break time or whatever it was, to come and celebrate with us. We are first going to start with the invocation by Mr. Joseph M. Rice. (audience clapping) If you would, would you bow, in respect and honor, my God. Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, we come today with thanksgiving in our hearts, reminiscin’ in the past and lookin’ forward to the future. We thank you for your enablement and we ask that you would bless the minds and hearts of all of these people and that this could rebound through your glory and honor. In Jesus’s name and his shed blood, and the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit, amen. Amen! (audience laughing) Thank you Mr. Rice. So now we will be honored with the colored guard and it’s lead by ensign Leah Paston and if everyone would stand, that would be awesome. Forward, march! Left right march. March. Left right, right, right left. Left right, right, right. Left forward, march. Left right, right, right left. Left right. Mark time, march. Left right, right, right left. Left right, color halt. Counter-march, march. Left right, right, right left. Left right, right, right left. Color, halt. Present colors. Okay, so now, we will have The Pledge of Allegiance. Put your right hand over your heart. Ready, begin. I pledge allegiance to the flag, of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. And if you would remain standing as we hear a rendition by Ms. Paula of “The Star-Spangled Banner”. ♪ Oh say can you see by the dawn’s early light ♪ ♪ What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming ♪ ♪ Whose bright stripes and bright stars ♪ ♪ Through the perilous fight ♪ ♪ O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming ♪ ♪ And the rocket’s red glare ♪ ♪ The bombs bursting in air ♪ ♪ Gave proof through the night ♪ ♪ That our flag was still there ♪ ♪ Oh say does that star-spangled banner yet wave ♪ ♪ O’er the land of the free ♪ ♪ And the home of the brave ♪ (audience clapping) Ready, cut. Forward, march. Left right, right, right left. Left right, left turn, march. Left right, right, right left. Left forward, march. If we could give them another hand. (audience clapping) I’d like to acknowledge our exiting, wonderful, awesome, Felton Williams, the president who’s here. Mr. Felton if you could stand please. (audience clapping)
Be obedient and stand please. Thank you. Awesome. And then I see Mr. Jon Meyer, if you could stand. He’s also a board member for district four. (audience clapping) Thank you for coming as you know they have supported us and then I see somebody else in the back. Mr. Chris Steinhauser, our superintendent. (audience cheering and clapping) And now if there are any other board members I don’t see them at this particular moment. Diana Craighead, if you could stand please. She’s coming. Oh, okay, she’s coming. And she’s the board member of District Five. Everybody give here a round of applause. (audience clapping) And then I’d also like to make a few more observations of individuals who have taken time out of their day and schedule to join us. We’ve already acknowledged Mr. Steinhauser. I’d like to acknowledge Miss Ruth Perez Ashley, Deputy Superintendent of Education Services. She has supported us all these years. (audience clapping) Also, Dr. Jill Baker, Deputy Superintendent of Schools. (audience clapping) Dr. Tiffany Brown, Assistant Superintendent of School Services. (audience clapping) I don’t see Dr. Lund, is he here? Okay, yes, I was gonna get to him, okay. Mr.Quentin Brown
(audience clapping) Dr. Kimberly Johnson.
(audience clapping) These are individuals I did see them at one point. Dr. Jay Camerino.
(audience clapping) Mr.Brian Moskovitz.
(audience clapping) Is Steve Aucherbach here? Okay. And I also wanted to acknowledge a retired principal, Miss Sparkle Peterson. (audience clapping) She supports us all the time. Is Mr. Chris Effijue here?
No, no. Okay, and then also, last but not least, Mr. David Zaid.
(audience clapping) He’s over all of our human resources department. I forgot the exact title, forgive me. And we had an amazing event last night and I know he can rest now after this event from last night. It was amazing. We had an amazing recruitment evening and it went extremely well. And he did a great job in the leadership facilitating that event, so thank you Mr. Zaid. (audience clapping) Okay, so we’re all situated now. Okay, so now we will have a poetry reading by Miss Jianna Pinkerton. Now, Ms.Giana Pinkerton, don’t let her little size fool you ’cause I interacted with her earlier and she’s a, she’s not shy. (audience laughing) I too sing America. I am the darker brother. They send me to eat in the kitchen when company comes, but I laugh and eat well and grow strong. Tomorrow I’ll be at that table when company comes. Nobody’ll dare say to me eat in the kitchen. Besides, they’ll see how beautiful I am and be ashamed. I too am America. (audience clapping) Here ya go. Tell me about how old you are. My name is Jianna and I’m seven years old. (audience clapping) Thank you so much, Jianna, that was awesome. Did you have anything else you wanted to present to us? No, that’s all. That’s her mom, so she knows best. (audience laughing) Thank you so much. And so now we will have special presentations at this particular moment. Although I only see one of our. So, Miss Angela Rivers if you could come forward. (audience clapping) Dr. Felton Williams. Okay, so, this is a token for Mr. Felton Williams and then also for Miss Angela Rivers. Now, the history is, if it wasn’t for Dr. Williams we don’t know if this would have happened, us being able to celebrate would have taken place. Our founder, who I just saw, Miss Diane Neely Riles, she had a vision and she went to Dr. Williams with it and Dr. Williams said yes, let’s do it. He asked her how we would like to have it done and he supported us and he told us what was appropriate and what was not appropriate. And so, he’s just been so supportive these past six years. And he will be retiring and we will miss him and his support and hopefully he won’t forget about us. But, we wanted to acknowledge you, the committee, and let you know how much we appreciate you and all of your support and your guidance and just always just being so down to earth. So, thank you so much. (audience clapping) And then we have Miss Angela Rivers who is also a retiree now. She recently retired.
(audience clapping) And so, she took over the realm when our founder, Diane Neely Riles, retired. She took over as chair and she did an amazing job and she exited without us being able to acknowledge her publicly. So, we wanted to do that today and let her know how much we appreciate you, all you did for us, your soft spirit and just for being so supportive and your guidance and your kind words. And so, we just wanted to give you a small token of appreciation and love today. So, thank you so much. (audience clapping) Okay, so we’re gonna move right along. So, our next participant is our guest speaker and that’s Mr. Edward Samuels. He is the principle of Hughes Middle School. (audience clapping) Now, we know that he has another title and we know those with that particular title they can be very long-winded.
(audience laughing) So, he was given a time frame. And so, I don’t want to be so like, for our culture at home going services, we call funerals home going services. So, at our church when we have home going celebrations and when it comes to remarks you know how people they start popping up and there’s no time and everybody starts thinking about things they need to say. And so we have on the program two minutes each. (audience laughing) And some of them, they will disrespect what’s in the program. So, at our church, the ministers that officiate the service, they will say, before the remarks come up, they say, okay, your remarks are two minutes each. Now, when your two minutes is over if you have not taken your seat I will stand up and that means that your time is up. So, we don’t wanna stand up on you. (audience laughing) You guys won’t leave me by myself, you’ll all stand up, right? (audience laughing) Okay, let us give him a warm welcome. (audience clapping) Thank you so much, Joy. Just for the record, you took five of my minutes. (audience laughing) But, I am obedient. I was given 20 minutes, but I’m gonna be. Well, I always say I should not lie to people ’cause that is a problem that preachers have, especially in the Black Baptist Church. So, I’m not gonna say I’m not gonna be long, but I will stay within the time frame. How’s that? Good afternoon. Good afternoon. For those who don’t know, I am Edward Samuels and, yes, I am the proud principal of Hughes Middle School here in Long Beach. I am extremely honored and extremely nervous to stand before you in this afternoon. I definitely wanna pay respect to our school board members, our exec staff, Superintendent Steinhauser. Out of all the wonderful people in our district I’m just humbled that I have been selected to do this. 100 years ago there was a movement that served as a turning point in Black cultural history and that was Harlem Renaissance. And in order to truly understand the significance of the Harlem Renaissance we must be reminded that a little bit over 50 years prior to the Harlem Renaissance African-Americans were considered property in this country. It wasn’t until 1863 when Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation that Blacks were declared free, but unfortunately it was just a declaration. Because there were many who were still enslaved. There were slave masters that were not willing to allow their slaves to go free, especially in the deep pockets of the South. It took two and half years from Lincoln’s proclamation for slaves to become truly free. Federal troops entered Galveston, Texas to take control of the state and to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation. Union general, Gordon Granger, read general orders number three, which declared in part, “The people of Texas are informed “that in accordance with a proclamation “from the executive of the United States “all slaves are free.” It was at that moment that the last group of slaves finally got the word that they were indeed free. That date was June 19th, 1865. This date has become known as Juneteenth. Many African-Americans still celebrate this pivotal event in our history. Imagine the life of a newly freed Black person during that time. Were their former slave masters willing to sit down and offer them jobs with fair wages? Were they able to go to different places in the region and to tell people, I know a few days earlier I was considered an object, but now I’m considered a human, will you hire me? Were their former slave masters willing to treat them like the humans that they were? Or were they angry that they were forced to set them free? The truth is that some slave masters were defiant and they refused to let their slaves go. Some kept them for another harvest. Some did not want to tell them and some even resorted to violence. Former slave, Susan Merit recalled, and I’m gonna give you the clean version of this, “Lots of Negroes were killed after freedom. “Bushwhacked, shot down while they were trying to get away. “You could see lots of Negroes hanging from trees “and supplying bottom right after freedom.” In one extreme case, according to Hayes Turner, a former slave named Katie Darling continued working for her mistress another six years. And Darling said, “She whipped my after the war “just like she did befo’.” Life for a newly freed slave was hard. Things didn’t change, mindsets didn’t change. What was going on inside of human beings stayed the same. Black people had to deal with racism on a level that we cannot even comprehend in 2020. Those in the South they had to endure Jim Crow laws. Plessy versus Ferguson, separate but equal. Lynching and arson from the Ku Klux Klan. This was an era that African-Americans were living in, particularly in the deep South before the Harlem Renaissance. It ultimately led to what’s known as the Great Depression, Great Migration, and many African-Americans moved north for better opportunities and to escape their oppression that they experienced in the South. But, even in the North, racism and prejudice was still prevalent. African-Americans still were not afforded many opportunities. They were given jobs in industry, but when it came to the arts and literature and music they were not provided those opportunities. And then the portrayal of images of African-Americans in the media was less than flattering and stereotypes prevailed. When movies like, “The Birth of a Nation,” that according to author Dick Lehr, “Portrayed the emancipated slaves as heathens, “as unworthy of being free. “As uncivilized, as primarily concerned “with passing laws so they could marry white women “and prey on them.” Or at the way that they were portrayed in the minstrel shows where white performers wore the black-face and portrayed Blacks as lazy, illiterate and simple minded. And even if the door opened for an African-American to participate in a minstrel show they were criticized because they were told that they were not able to perform like a true N-I, you know what. And then those who were able to perform they had to act out the heartbreaking stereotypes. Such as “The Two Real Coons” played by Burt Williams and George Walker. Or on stage and silent films Stepin Fetchit played Lazy Richard. And Willie Best was known as Sleep and Eat. When you take all of this under consideration I believe we can have a greater appreciation for the Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance resulted in an explosion of cultural pride for African-Americans. Black people were able to express themselves in ways they never had been before. In views in literature, art, music, in ways that were just inconceivable and never seen. And this opened the door for African-Americans to dictate how they would be portrayed in media and the arts. The wide variety of work was astounding. And one of the most prominent figures during this time was W.E.B. Dubois. He was the founder of Krigwa, which is known as the Crisis Guild of Writers and Artists. And the Krigwa sponsored a play writing contest and the participants were told, “To write about things as you know them. “You do not have to confine your writings “to the portrayals of beggars, scoundrels and prostitutes. “You can write about ordinary decent colored people “if you want. “On the other hand, do not fear the truth. “Plumb the depths. “If you want to paint crime and destitution and evil, “paint it. “Do not try to be simply respectable, smug, conventional. “Use propaganda if you want. “Discard it and laugh if you will, “but be true, be sincere, be thorough “and do a beautiful job.” And this in essence characterized the approach that poets, authors, artists, musicians, that they all took during this era. Plays were being written by Black playwrights that allowed audiences to see a portrayal of Black people that on film and on stage that they had never seen before. Yeah, some portrayals were what we would deem as negative, but there were for the first time portrayals that were very positive during the Harlem Renaissance. Oscar Micheaux formed his own movie production company and in 1919 became the first African-American to make a film. In his motion pictures he moved away from the Negro stereotypes being portrayed in film at the time. He portrayed African-Americans as assertive, articulate, sophisticated and intelligent. Individuals that were doing things that were positive and productive. Oscar Micheaux became the first African-American to produce a film that was shown in white theaters. This was a turning point in the industry. And for the first time people had the opportunity to see a Black person in a positive light. In addition, the doors of opportunity began to open for African-Americans in the industry. The Harlem Renaissance gave Black actors opportunities for stage work that had previously been withheld. And in 1924 actor Paul Robeson was introduced to the world in one of Oscar Micheaux’s films. And as they say, the rest is history. And I wonder if there would have ever been a Paul Robeson without an Oscar Micheaux? And would there have ever been and Oscar Micheaux without the Harlem Renaissance? One of the most popular poets emerged through the Harlem Renaissance and that’s Langston Hughes. Langston Hughes was a literary phenomenon and he was one of the first Black men to make a productive and profitable career out of his writings. He unashamedly wrote about the Black experience. In his first published poem, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” he alludes to the original home of African-Americans and a peace and comfort that one associates with being at home. Along with a reference to Africans possessing mathematical and architectural expertise that still astounds people to this day. He takes the reader from Africa and then to America and the imagery of rivers is apropos because as a people we know that we traveled to America in a vessel that traveled over a body of water. And then he continues his poem with a reference to slavery in America, but in the same sentence he comes back and he references the abolishment of slavery. Just pay close attention to his words. “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” “I’ve known rivers. “I’ve known rivers ancient as the world “and older than the flow of human blood in human veins. “My soul has grown deep like the rivers. “I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young. “I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep. “I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it. “I heard the singing of the Mississippi “when Abe Lincoln went down to New Orleans, “and I’ve seen its muddy bosom turn “all golden in the sunset. “I’ve known rivers: Ancient dusky rivers. “My soul has grown deep like the rivers.” Another one of Langston Hughes’s works that is very popular is the poem titled, “Mother to Son.” “Well, son, I’ll tell you: “Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair. “It had tacks in it, and splinters, “and boards torn up, “and places with no carpet on the floor- bare. “But all the time I’se been a-climbin’ on, “and reachin’ landin’s, and turnin’ corners, “and sometimes goin’ in the dark “where there ain’t been no light. “So boy, don’t you turn back. “Don’t you set down on the steps ” ‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard. “Don’t you fall now, for I’se still goin’, honey, “I’se still climbin’, “And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.” The Harlem Renaissance era gave writers like Langston Hughes the opportunity as W.E.B. Dubois said, “to write about things you know. “And to do a beautiful job.” Other key writers during the Harlem Renaissance were Countee Cullen, Claude McKay, James Weldon Johnson, who we all know who was the writer of what we call the Negro National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” But, some people believe that no aspect of the Harlem Renaissance shaped America the most outside of the jazz music that was played. Jazz was a new form of music. It disregarded the musical conventions. Its syncopated rhythms and improvised instrumental solos made it unique. And although it didn’t originate in Harlem it was in Harlem where it gained its popularity. Thousands would flock to Harlem’s Cotton Club each night or any other new club that popped up just to see these talented musicians. One of the unique components of jazz is the improvisation that occurs during a song. And what’s so amazing is that no two improvisations are alike. It was an opportunity for musicians to express their uniqueness. To express themselves and to have a voice just as the Harlem Renaissance provided a venue for Black artists to express themselves, express their uniqueness and to have a voice. Some of the key artists during the Harlem Renaissance was Duke Ellington, Jelly Roll Morton, Fats Waller, Chick Webb and Louis Armstrong. With singers like Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday. This was the first time that African-Americans were in the spotlight. They were the headliners. They were the ones that were on the stage and then you would have folks from different races who were coming to hear them. And that was something that was only happening in Harlem. In other parts of the country Blacks and whites co-mingling was against the law. So this movement laid the foundation for changes in this country that would be realized a few decades later. As we take a moment today to celebrate the Harlem Renaissance I want to challenge all of us to start a new renaissance. According to “Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary” the word renaissance means, “A new birth, a re-birth, a revival.” When I think about the challenges that African-Americans face in this country I strongly believe we need a new renaissance. We need a movement that will serve as a cultural awakening for African-Americans. We need a movement that will help African-Americans to control the narrative about who we are as a people. We need a movement that will help people see that we’re not thugs and drug dealers. We need a movement that will show us to be more than just rappers and athletes. We need a movement that will portray African-Americans as sophisticated intelligent human beings. We need a new renaissance. The stereotypes, yes, they still exist, but they’re just housed within the unconscious biases that all of us possess. And sometimes they show up subtly, but then as we know sometimes they come out quite conspicuously. Many of us have seen the videos of a Black person being pulled over by a police officer only to be shocked that that person would end up getting beaten and in some cases killed. And some of us in this room have had that experience of being pulled over, and as the young folks say, a DWB, driving while Black. Could it be that some officers have an unconscious bias towards African-Americans? We need to change the narrative. I personally don’t like the feeling of anxiety and nervousness that comes upon me when I’m driving and the police officer pulls up behind me and I’m following the speed limit. We need a new renaissance. We have educators who allow their unconscious biases to affect how they treat students in their classroom. We all know the data, we’re in education. We know that there’s an achievement gap. We know that we have a disproportionate number of African-American students who are being suspended or placed in special ed because they got just a little too much energy. We need a rebirth. We need a new renaissance. When you are in a public establishment and you notice that all eyes are on you it creates a feeling of discomfort and distrust, but that’s because of how we’re being portrayed in media. That’s because we’re being portrayed as somebody that’s going to steal. So what are we gonna do to invoke a new renaissance in Long Beach? What are we gonna do to make Long Beach a totally different place like Harlem was? You see, we have a responsibility and if you’re African-American you have a very important role to play in our rebirth as a people. When I look at the photos and videos from the Harlem Renaissance I’m so impressed by the way the people then dressed. They were dressed to impress. Their hair was always in place. They didn’t have pants down to their ankles. They didn’t have skirts up to their belly buttons. They didn’t have rollers on. They did not have wave caps on. They presented themselves like they were going to church every single day. And it’s our responsibility to teach our children. I got a 21 year-old and my wife and I are trying to help him understand if you’re gonna drive in Long Beach you don’t need to wear a white T-shirt and put on a wave cap or a hoodie because you will create some negative attention that’s going to come your way. You’re gonna perpetuate the stereotype. We need to get back to having pride in how we look. We need a new renaissance. We need a revival that calls us to recognize and celebrate all that’s wonderful as Black Americans. We need to have an explosion here in Long Beach, California, similar to Harlem, that will cause us to uplift our race. Listen, it’s not the politicians job. And there’s not gonna be another W.E.B. Dubois because, see, it starts with me. It’s starts with you. We all have an opportunity to influence the people in our circle. How many of us have kids or grandkids that we can talk to? And how many of those kids know the name of two Black inventors? How many know about the Black Wall Street? How many of them can sing the verses of “Lift Every Voice and Sing”? See, that’s my responsibility. That’s your responsibility. You can set a spark, I can set spark. You can light fire, I can light a fire. And those sparks and those fires can come together and we will have an explosion right here in Long Beach. We need a new renaissance. And I want to have to have a witness (audience laughing and clapping) to believe that we need a renaissance. Are kids depend on us. I’m sorry, I felt like I was at church. (audience laughing) But, James Weldon Johnson said, “You are young, gifted and Black. “We must begin to tell our young “there’s a world waiting for you. “Yours is a quest that’s just begun.” What role are you gonna play in our new renaissance? Thank you. (audience cheering and clapping) And the church said, amen. Let’s give him another warm round of applause. (audience clapping) Okay, we’re gonna move right along. Now, Miss Tasha Hunter, is she? Yes. Okay, so Dr. Williams with introduce her. I was told, I didn’t say it, five minutes was her time frame, or less if you prefer. (audience laughing) And you don’t wanna leave because this next musical selection is gonna be very special so you wanna stay for that. So, yay, Tasha. I wanna introduce Tasha. Tasha is my partner in crime. We are newly elected, I’m president of the African-American Cultural Center here in Long Beach. And Tasha was elected as the vice president of the African-American Cultural Center. As my good friend, Ed, was saying we are about to build a new renaissance in Long Beach. I’m gonna let Tasha just talk about that a little bit. Okay, thank you Dr. Williams. (audience clapping) Well, since I have five minutes instead of two I’ll say, this is beautiful. (audience laughing) Inside the program it says that I’m a community member, yes, I am that, but I’m also the mother of Long Beach Unified School District students. I have an adult daughter. My other son who’s in high school with Long Beach Unified and two Hughes students. So, Mr. Samuels is an amazing principal, but there’s so many people that I see in this room that I know in this room. I was a substitute teacher up until last month. I got purged from the system after 15 years, but we gonna fix that. (audience laughing) Where is Miss Denise? My very first assignment was at Sparkle Peterson’s school and this was 2005 and I had a cell phone, it was a flip phone, I looked to see the time, I was on the playground, she said, get off your phone. I said I’m checking the time and she said, the get a watch. (audience laughing) I went and got a watch. So, all that to say, I’m also a member of School Site Council, PTA mom, all that beautiful stuff, but most importantly I’m very excited to see the process that we are embarking upon in our Long Beach Unified School District or I should say in the City of Long Beach. I was able to go and speak with our coalition of involved African-American parents. Thank you Dr. Kimberly Johnson. The first time she said, we have a full agenda. How many minutes do you need? And I was like just give me seven. And she found seven minutes for me and then I was able to go back to get some feedback and information from Long Beach Unified and some students in young, gifted and talented group, under Dr. McCloen, to find out what people wanted in the the African-American Cultural Center. This was a very involved engaged process throughout the City of Long Beach. The report just came up, it’s on the city’s website. Very proud of that work and thankful for the students and the parents in Unified that helped us with that, but as we’re building this organization people say, oh, we have a cultural center? Not yet, and I use a very strong yet ’cause it will be there soon. We’re building that foundation. We have a board of directors. And Dr. Williams and Sharon McLucas, who has a very memorable exhibit called “Forgotten Images”, said we need a logo. How can we move forward without a logo? And so, we came up with this brilliant idea to go into Unified. Dr. Williams linked me with Miss Christine Whip. Is Christine in here by chance? Well, you know who she is. She’s a teacher and she also works at the teacher resource center. And we came up with guidelines, very specific guidelines of what we wanted. And I knew from our side we wanted to incorporate the kente cloth and we wanted to incorporate our mission which is to educate and to remember our culture prior to slavery, where we are now and where we’re going. So, with that, we set a strong deadline. I’m thinking, yeah, we’ll get 10, maybe 15 responses. When Christine emailed me and said, Tasha, we have about 50 responses I said, oh, okay, 50 responses. Then about a week later she said we have 60 responses. By the time it was all said and done we had 85 entries from your students, our students, so that’s amazing. (audience clapping) And though we didn’t bring all 85 there are sampling of some and when she called and told me that there were 85 and we were gonna pick them up I called Dr. Williams, this was before we were president and vice president. I called Dr. Williams and I called Lavern Duncan, if you know her, she does the Black History Month event at that Expo center every year, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, and I said will you come with me? And Christine had them all laid out on the table and we just stood there like are you kidding me? This far exceeded our expectations. So, we are in the process of making some decisions. We’re gonna put together a committee and figure out the process of that. And we’re gonna give certificates to each of our entries and then we’re gonna make a decision. It’s gonna be a hard decision, but we’ve talked to Unified. They wanna put all of the logos on the website. We had a huge response from different schools. Put all the logos on the website and possibly come up with a book ’cause we wanna commemorate just the efforts of all the students and the art teachers. Art is alive and thriving in the City of Long Beach. I spent two terms as the president of the Arts Council and just to see the level of engagement of our students just makes my heart happy. It makes me happy as a parent of a Long Beach Unified and also as a person on the foundation of building this African-American Cultural Center. So, thank you, thank you all. Thank you, Dr. Williams. Was that less than five minutes? (audience clapping) And if Mr. Chris Steinhauser could come up. He wasn’t here when we were doing our presentations earlier. (audience clapping) Chris is also retiring and we’re gonna miss him. And so, we wanted to just give you a small token for always being so supportive and the wonderful smile that you always give us when you’re walking through the hallway and just being an awesome individual. And for the guidance you have provided the district wide all these years. And we wish relaxation and rest and just do whatever you feel like doing as long as it’s legal. (audience laughing) Thank you. (audience clapping) There’s a cake in the back for all our retirees as well. You can look at it, have a slice. Visual consumption is good, physical consumption is good. Whatever makes you happy.
(audience laughing) And thank you Dr. Kelly Aum for attending, we appreciate you being here. Anyway, so without further ado, we have surprise. Let’s give him a warm welcome. (audience clapping) First and foremost I wanna say that when I went to Chris and I said to Chris can we hold this event in the district? He said not a problem. And when I asked him for money to help with it, (audience laughing)
he said not a problem. So Chris, thank you, thank you very much. (audience clapping) I also wanna say to my good friend Ed, fantastic job, Ed. Great job, great job. (audience clapping) Last year when Paula sang I commended Paula on the song she sang and I think I said something like, you know Paula, I’d love to sing a duet with you. And that was last year. So, when she called me the other day and said, Dr. Williams, would you be willing to sing? And my response was, no. (audience laughing) But, she reminded me of what I said last year. So, I couldn’t turn her down, of course. So, but the song that I’m choosing to sing is a song about hope. It’s about aspirations, and even though it has a love theme to it, it really talks about what a difference a day makes. And in the lives of so many people back then it was always about the next day. Always about hope, always about aspirations, always about struggle, so hence this song. So, Paula, since she asked me to sing and I’m gonna have her come up and help me just in case I stumble, Paula? (audience laughing and clapping) Alright, let’s do it. Thank you for saying yes. Okay. Wrong one.
That’s not it. (audience laughing) Ed, you said you were nervous, right? (scattered laughter) Some of you may have heard me sing this song before at the NAACP event. ♪ What a difference a day makes ♪ ♪ Oh, oh, oh ♪ ♪ 24 little hours ♪ ♪ Oh, oh, oh ♪ ♪ Brought the sun and the flowers ♪ ♪ Oh, where there used to be rain ♪ ♪ Rain. ♪ ♪ My yesterday was blue, dear ♪ ♪ Today I’m a part of you, dear ♪ ♪ My lonely nights are through, dear ♪ ♪ Since you said you were mine ♪ ♪ Oh, sing ♪ ♪ Lord, what a difference a day makes ♪ ♪ Oh, oh, oh ♪ ♪ There’s a rainbow before me ♪ ♪ Skies above may be stormy ♪ ♪ Stormy ♪ ♪ Since that moment of bliss ♪ ♪ That thrilling kiss ♪ ♪ It’s heaven when you ♪ ♪ Find romance on your menu ♪ ♪ On your menu ♪ ♪ What a difference a day makes ♪ ♪ A day makes ♪ ♪ And the difference is you ♪ (audience cheering and clapping) Thank you, thank you all very much, thank you. Come on, we can do better than that. (audience cheering and clapping) Yes, yes, yes, yes, that was awesome. Look, when you sing amongst your peers you know it’s no mercy, so you know, you have to be like (exaggeratedly clearly throat). But, that was awesome, thank you. What a wonderful way to go out with a bang. Yes. (audience clapping) Alrighty then, so I’d like to thank you all for allowing me to be your M.C. once again. It was awesome, as usual, but thank you so much for supporting us. I really, and I know the team appreciates you taking your time out to support us every year and we couldn’t do it without you. So, thank you all so much. The speaker, God bless you, yes. (audience clapping) As we all stand up and sing our National Anthem and then we can be adjourned. Thank you so much and we hope to see you again next year. And we’re gonna sing this together. They put my name there, but we’re singing this together. They play too much. Okay, so we’re just singing the first verse. And let’s go. ♪ Lift every voice and sing ♪ ♪ ‘Til earth and heaven ring ♪ ♪ Ring with the harmonies of liberty ♪ ♪ Let our rejoicing rise ♪ ♪ High as the listening skies ♪ ♪ Let is resound loud as the rolling sea ♪ ♪ Sing a song full of the faith ♪ ♪ That the dark past has taught us ♪ ♪ Sing a song full of the hope ♪ ♪ That the present has brought us ♪ ♪ Facing the rising sun ♪ ♪ Of our new day begun ♪ ♪ Let us march on ’til victory is won ♪ (all cheering and clapping) Thank you.