B-LAC South Bay Celebrates 2nd Annual Back to School Festival

Held on the high school’s outdoor stage right outside the Ruth French Chapman Performing Arts Center, tons of new and returning Sweetwater Union High School District students and their families as well as staff, administrators, educators, and community members joined together to support the students’ scholastic endeavors. 

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Photos: Amara N. Beaty

By Amara N. Beaty, Staff Writer

In the late afternoon of August 6, the Chula Vista youth organization Black Learners Advisory Committee, otherwise known as B-LAC, kicked off the school year for incoming and returning South Bay students with their 2nd Annual African American Back to School Festival at Eastlake High.

Held on the high school’s outdoor stage right outside the Ruth French Chapman Performing Arts Center, tons of new and returning Sweetwater Union High School District students and their families as well as staff, administrators, educators, and community members joined together to support the students’ scholastic endeavors.

Photos: Amara N. Beaty

From 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., students and community members alike shared their variety of talents on the outdoor stage. From majorette and interpretive styled dancing to powerful lyricism presented in rap and spoken word, performers of all ages excited and engaged the watching crowd. There were even times where the audience was pulled on stage to join in dances like the Cupid Shuffle and Electric Slide, bringing in that Black, family reunion spirit.

Photos: Amara N. Beaty

The goal of the event was clear: create an environment full of love, support, and community from everyone in attendance, as well as a space to promote educational opportunities for Black students in the South Bay. This message was made clear by the support of the vendors and business owners, many of whom were Black business owners, who came to provide programs and opportunities for the children as well as the staff who took the time out to work with the students to put this event together. 

The Chula Vista Police Department also came out to show their support at the event and to inform the public and interested youth in attendance of their cadet program as well as to provide a tactical demonstration of their drone—which the CVPD also provides a youth program for. Among the CVPD officers and detectives was Officer Jason Wilder, who graduated from Eastlake High School in 2016. He was one of the many students who joined the cadet program in his youth. Given the history and present reality of policing and Black people, the CVPD’s commitment to show their support and to engage with the public in a relaxed and even humorous manner was necessary. 

All in all, the event was fun, inviting, and full of familial spirit! The blend of community and family was real and the love was felt by all in attendance. A great luck is wished to all the children of the Sweetwater High School District as they take on yet another year of academia!

Photos: Amara N. Beaty
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