ABOVE PHOTO: VIBE and IMAGINE sponsors, parents and volunteers. (Photos courtesy: Andrea Lawful Sanders)
By Andrea Lawful Sanders
On Saturday March 23 2019, children and their families converged on the Hiway Theater in Jenkintown for a screening of the movie, “Black Panther.”
This special day came as a result of the Abington Police Department’s C.A.P.T. (Citizens And Police Together) organization, who graciously bestowed a grant to pay for the theater rental, and the C.A.L.M. Society (Committed Advocates Leading Many), who donated breakfast to make this day a reality on behalf of the V.I.B.E. (Voices Invoking a Brotherhood of Excellence) and I.M.A.G.I.N.E. (I’m A Girl Intelligent Noble and Educated) leadership programs in the Abington School District.
Students and families were able to attend at no cost to them and were encouraged to participate in a costume contest as an added bonus. Student Morgan Culver emerged as the winner and a great time was had by all.
“I take great pride, to see my people in the light of their own excellence, and not in the shadows of someone else,” Shameeka Browne, a parent and candidate for the school board in Abington, said at the conclusion of the movie.
“It is something that we don’t see on a regular basis, so it empowers and reminds me of what we have instilled in our youth and [that] to be a part of excellence in their own right is very powerful. The only history they are taught is in the lens of oppression, so this gives them an opportunity to see what culture looks like outside the lens of oppression and that is a powerful thing.”
Parent Semonne Culver and her daughter Morgan chimed in with their thoughts of the movie.
“I loved it — the cast, the costumes and would see it again,” she said.
Both Semonne and Morgan believe that every child should experience the VIBE and IMAGINE programs, as Morgan has gained so much from it.
Fred Johnson, who is one of the sponsors of the VIBE Program at Abington Jr High School and came dressed as King T’Challa.
“This was a tremendous opportunity to get the VIBE and IMAGINE families, the Abington Police Department, and the CALM Society all together, and it is a testimony to our great community and the great things we are able to do and inspire excellence in our young people, and the demonstration that has within our families as well,” he said. “So this has been a long but great journey, and it is a pleasure and an honor to be a part of such a wonderful community.”