In observance of Black History Month, Campus Community Worship Center of Ruston held a program entitled Phenomenal African American Women Showcase.LaKeisha Jenkins said these trailblazers chose the road not taken, sat down and refused to get up, marched with grace and triumph and prayed the prayer that only Jesus could answer.
“They have paved the way so that every person in here today will be able to witness the manifestations of all of their dreams, aspirations, ideas and movements,” she said.
Also, she said it is virtually impossible to represent every woman who has been a pillar of excellence, so they chose six icons.
The program was presented by the church’s women’s bible study group, Girlfriends. The six women portrayed were Harriet Tubman, Maya Angelou, Zora Neale Hurston, Laila Ali, Mahalia Jackson and Michelle Obama. A brief overview of their many contributions were given.
They were portrayed by Elizabeth Mobley, Gabrielle Jones, Sharoma Scurry, Me’Lonnie Walker, Jaimie Cummings and LaRanda Jackson, respectively.
Scurry, who is majoring in sociology at Grambling State University, chose Hurston because she was in her field of study.
“I would really like to be able to learn a lot from her. Plus, it was nice to portray someone who is new and fresh to many,” she said.
Jenkins gave the audience a charge and asked them to continue to unite and commemorate those who have gone before them.
“Let us strive all the more diligently to stand for the same just causes. And before you leave here today, ask yourself if you will leave a legacy worth commemorating,” she said.
Many found the program enlightening and enjoyable and said it helped them to gain a greater appreciation for the many contributions that were made by African American women around the world, not just in America.
Jonathan Joseph said, “Hearing about all these great women made me think about our history and how many great women we have.
“I really liked the portrayal of Mahalia Jackson. I did not expect a singer to get such feedback from the church,” he said.
Cynthia Wabo, a native of Cameroon, said she enjoyed the program because it showed how Black women are strong and never give up.
“In my country, we do not often hear about the contributions of Black women. What I liked most about the showcase is the portrayal of the women’s courage,” she said.
Children also enjoyed the program and found it educational and inspirational. Third-grader Cira Commenia said she liked the acting and when the names of the portrayed women and presenters were given.
“It inspires me to be like them. Women can do anything,” said the eight-year-old.
The worship center is lead by Bishop A. Bryan Smith and his wife Glenda, the founder of Girlfriends.
She said Girlfriends caters to a diverse group of women of various ages. The group’s motto is “Touching Hearts, Changing Lives – One Girlfriend at a Time.” Its theme this year is “Girlfriends: Impacting our World.”
“My girlfriends and I did things together and shared things. I wanted that same bond in the church. So many women come to church searching,” she said.
One such person is Jason, who said she joined Girlfriends to get more connected with people at the church.
Bishop Smith said the program was really a true representation of the women. “In spite of their difficulties, they made it. They did more with less. It encourages us,” he said.