Courtesy photo of last year’s gala.
Dover, NH – Join us as we celebrate a Night of Black Excellence with Black Lives Matter Seacoast for our Third Annual Gala Saturday, Oct. 1 at Rivermill at Dover Landing.
Last year, our 2nd Annual Gala showed the highest levels of love and appreciation for our Black community with the event generating over $30,000 to go towards our mutual aid fund and projects. This year, we decided to host the gala at the Rivermill at Dover Landing, giving us the opportunity to hold this event in the heart of beautiful Downtown Dover!
The Keynote Speaker for the night is Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein! Dr. Prescod-Weinstein is an assistant professor of physics and astronomy and core faculty in women’s and gender studies at the University of New Hampshire and a columnist for New Scientist and Physics World. Nature recognized her as one of 10 people who shaped science in 2020, and Essence magazine has recognized her as one of “15 Black Women Who Are Paving the Way in STEM and Breaking Barriers.” A co-founder of Particles for Justice, she received the 2017 LGBT+ Physicists Acknowledgement of Excellence Award for her contributions to improving conditions for marginalized people in physics and the 2021 American Physical Society Edward A. Bouchet Award for her contributions to particle cosmology. Her first book The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred won the 2021 Los Angeles Times Book Prize in the science and technology category and was named a Best Book of 2021 by Publishers Weekly, Smithsonian Magazine, and Kirkus.
We will have two outstanding performances for the event! The feature performer is the amazing Adrienne Mack-Davis! Adrienne is a classically trained singer/songwriter originally from Rochester, NY. She has traveled the world performing over 1200 live shows both nationally and internationally opening and collaborating with the likes of Dead Prez, Talib Kweli, Rhakim, Red Man, Pharoah Monch, Hannibal Burress, Homeboy Sandman, Swiss Beats and KRS One and has been a featured artist on various major national festivals like SXSW and A3C.Her Music is described as hard hitting soul and RnB melodies fused with infectious Hip Hop and Dance instrumentals she emanates positivity and self love to inspire compassion and self confidence in people from all walks of life. You can catch her either performing around New England with The Bulkheads, a live soul, hip hop, funk band, alongside Nate Winter, her accompaniment on guitar for acoustic stripped back sets and solo hitting stages with big instrumentals and even bigger vocals.
The second performer is the great Anthony Bounphakhom & The Block Collaborative! Anthony is known for healing artistry, the love he expresses through his craft and founder/owner of The Block Collaborative, an art and dance studio located in Portsmouth, NH. He started dancing at age 13 and since then has been training with various teams, workshops, conventions, mentors, etc. Anthony and The Block believes that everyone can harness creativity to create towards loving their craft and most importantly loving themselves.
We will have Exeter’s own and the owner of 7North Coffee Co., Doug York behind the turntables & Najee Brown, creator of New England’s first and only BIPOC theater company, Theater for the People, will be our MC for the night!
The Dinner will be made by Chris Viaud, the chef and owner of Greenleaf and Ansanm, both located in Milford New Hampshire. Chris Viaud is a James Beard Award semifinalist & most recently known for competing on Season 18 of Top Chef. Viaud graduated from Johnson and Wales, and after graduation, Viaud moved to Boston where he spent three years at Deuxave, where he worked his way to Sous Chef. Since his time in Boston he has been an essential part of multiple restaurant openings in the Greater Boston and New Hampshire area. Viaud focuses primarily on seasonal locally grown products which inspire his menu creations. He plans and executes a balanced meal that incorporates different flavors and textures that entertain the palate which allows for a unique dining experience each time. Viaud has recently begun focusing a lot more of his time and energy into the exploration of his Haitian Heritage, including finding new ways to introduce and educate communities around the beauty of Haitian cuisine and culture. He continues to challenge himself by pushing the boundaries and constantly taking himself out of his comfort by exploring new ideas, styles, trends and concepts to keep fueling his passion and believes that everyday there is the opportunity to learn something new.
Various desserts will be provided by Chris Viaud and Southern Girls Bakery! Decor of the Gala is provided by Jewel Reid Decor Company!
We will be hosting a silent art auction at the event. The art will be made by various local Black artists and attendees will be able to bid on the art throughout the night with the highest bidders being notified at the end of the event!
“This Gala is our way to celebrate our people, our joy, and our excellence,” said Founders of Black Lives Seacoast, Tanisha Johnson and Clifton West, “The Mission of Black Lives Matter Seacoast is to empower, nurture and uplift the Black community. Through our mutual aid fund, we have distributed over $50,000 in monetary donations to Black and Brown families in Strafford & Rockingham Counties of New Hampshire, Essex County of Massachusetts, and York County of Maine in the past year. The Gala is a time where we can come together as a community and support our valuable fund.”
This event is currently sponsored by the following organizations and businesses with more sponsors to be announced in the future!
With Black Excellence being the heart of this event, we asked Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, Adrienne Mack-Davis, Chris Viaud, Najee Brown on what Black Excellence means to them.
Najee Brown stated, “Black Excellence means to consistently go beyond what is expected ofyou. Breaking the glass ceiling, becoming the new standard, and leaving the door is open so that many others can follow you. Doing it unlike any other person that has come before you and doing it with style.”
Chris Viaud stated, “Black excellence means achieving success and being able to make an impact in communities backed by continuous action. Black excellence is rising above all prejudice and hate to fight for equality.”
“To me Black excellence means to persevere and overcome no matter what life throws your way, it means forgiveness in the face of adversity, it means pulling greatness from any circumstance or tribulation, it’s the nurturing of our youth so that they know they are fully capable of anything they put their minds to through hard work, dedication and self discipline, it’s striving for what is possible beyond what others might think may be probable, it is to accept oneself and others despite the very real hate in the world, Black Excellence is Love.” stated Adreinne Mack-Davis.
Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein in the most pure and powerful way, simply stated “Black freedom dreams are Black Excellence.”
A ticket to the event will also include access to free coffee & tea, access to a bar with specialized wine and beer, appetizers, dinner and desserts. Formal attire is required at the event.
Individuals can buy a ticket and learn more about the event details as we release the information by going to blmseacoast.com/gala.
Passes are available for members of the press on demand. Please inquire by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have a limited amount of tickets available for those with financial hardship at this time and for Black, Brown and Indigenous college students, both undergraduate and graduate, to attend the Gala. If you would like to attend but cannot afford a ticket at this time or to get an available student ticket, please email email@example.com.
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