Riverhead High School hosts annual Black History Month Celebration: Photos

Community members packed the Riverhead High School’s Charles Cardona Auditorium for the annual Black History Month events last Thursday.

The mistress of ceremonies, Alethia Ford of the First Baptist Church of Cutchogue, and her husband Kevin Ford, started the celebration with a prayer and blessing. 

Ms. Ford then introduced the national theme for this year’s Black History Month was “Black Resistance.” It was presented through a slideshow narrated by Michaela Ligon, a member of the Riverhead chapter of Council for Unity.

“Black people have had to consistently push the United States to live up to its ideals of freedom, liberty and justice for all,” she said in the presentation.


Some of the performances of the night included dances from the Butterfly Effect Project’s three dance groups: Majorettes, Precious Pearls and Elite Squad. The Dance Ministry of the First Baptist Church of Riverhead also graced the stage with a liturgical dance to the song “God of Miracles.”

During the event, several worthy community members were honored with prestigious awards including the Martin Luther King Jr. award. It is presented every year at the celebration to a person who “embodies the beliefs and work ethic of Martin Luther King Jr,” said Thomas Payton, principal of Roanoke Avenue Elementary School as he presented the award to a Roanoke colleague.

This year’s honoree was longtime security guard Sonya Johnson, who has been stationed at Roanoke for the past 12 years.

Riverhead’s Robert “Bubbie” Brown presented Garfield Langhorn certificates to Adelaide Boese, McKayla Bozza-Carroll, Keion Edwards and Rachel Zheng before reading his own poem entitled “Inherent Paranoia.”

The keynote speaker for the night was Dr. Lincoln Cox, chair of emergency medicine at Peconic Bay Medical Center.

The event ended with a rendition of the Jackson Five’s “I’ll Be There,” by the Pulaski Street Music Department and a reception at the high school cafeteria which featured a performance by the high school jazz ensemble and food by the high school’s culinary club.

See more photos from the event below by Melissa Azofeifa: