Children's Aid Community Schools' Celebration of African American and Dominican Heritages Raises the Roof!

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The earth moved and the roof shook for over 1,000 joyous visitors to the Salomé Ureña de Henríquez Campus in Washington Heights on Friday, February 27. Over a dozen performances by students at nine Children's Aid Society community schools, designed to co-celebrate African American and Dominican Heritage, were met by wild cheers, applause, shouts and stomping by the hundreds who packed the school's auditorium and who witnessed one of the most polished and diverse performances ever seen there.

The celebration began in the campus' lobby, where tableaux vivant recreated the feel of Dominican mercaditos, an African thatched hut village, and a Dominican house. Many beautifully costumed friends lent the tableaux a really authentic feel.

Three elected officials honored this portion of the event by dropping by and greeting celebrants: City Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, Assembly Member Adriano Espaillat and Council Member Miguel Martinez, who returned later to recognize the performers and the audience in the auditorium.

Representative Charles B. Rangel and Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer addressed the standing room-only crowd in the auditorium. Rep. Rangel credited Children's Aid's community school model for recognizing that children need "love and care besides what's on the blackboard" in order to succeed. Stringer, and the returning Martinez, relayed their joy of the celebration of our two cultures with this performance.

Photo Courtesy of Ben Russell