Rise St. James celebrates Black American history

Published 12:06 am Saturday, February 26, 2022

ST. JAMES —  Rise St. James recently held its annual Black American History program in St. James, titled,“A People’s Story: Resilience, Remembrance, and Reclamation.”

Vacherie, Louisiana native, award-winning professor and scholar Dr. Jinx Coleman Broussard served as the keynote speaker. Dr. Broussard talked about growing up in St. James Parish and successfully reacting to the challenges of our time. Her call to action was “I dare you.”

Dr. Broussard was the first African-American to earn an undergraduate degree in journalism from LSU. As a public relations professional, she was the director of public information and press secretary for the City of New Orleans to Mayor Sidney J. Barthelemy. Dr. Broussard is the Bart R. Swanson Endowed Memorial Professor. Broussard is author of best-selling “African American Foreign Correspondents: A History” and “Giving a Voice to the Voiceless: Four Pioneering Black Women Journalists.”

In addition, other career presenters included USA Today best-selling author of “The Boyfriend Project” Farrah Rochon (Edgard) and Syretia Steib (Vacherie) founder of Operation Restoration, a program to support women and girls impacted after incarnation. Each speaker’s goal was to share stories and to inspire diversified and circular economies.

“When we say STOP Formosa, we mean honor our humanity. Dr. Broussard has earned her place in St. James Parish history, she deserves her flowers. Next month for Women’s History Month we plan to tribute Courageous Women throughout the River Parishes. This is one of many steps towards reimagining St. James Parish. To love our community is to find ways to heal our community and the environment,” said Mrs. Sharon Lavigne.

The program also included an awards presentation for the annual RISE St. James Black History Essay Contest. The winners are Hannah Armant, Joseph Jalen Mitchell, Elijah James, Diana Diaz, Logan Oubre, and Rheonna Lavigne. Unanimously, winner Za’ Nae Ross’ essay (St. James High School) stood out the most. The essay was titled “Kendrick Brass: Black American Who Inspires You to Impact Your Community.”

“I am overjoyed. Dr. Jinx Coleman Broussard is the Ruby Bridges of LSU Manship School of Mass Communication. Everyone should hear her message of hope, she gave me the chills,” said Mrs. Rozella T. Walters, retired teacher and St. James Parish resident.

After the program, traditional stewed chicken, peas and cornbread was served in celebration. Photos are now available at www.risestjames.org.