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City of Bloomington Kicks Off “Black History Month - Bloomington Style”

Feb. 3, 2015

For more information, please contact:

Beverly Calender-Anderson, Director, City of Bloomington Department of Community and Family Resources Department, 812.349.3430,

City of Bloomington Kicks Off "Black History Month - Bloomington Style"

Bloomington, Ind. ‒ The City of Bloomington's 11th Annual Celebration of African American History and Culture Month will kick off Thursday, Feb. 5. The event begins with a reception at 6 p.m. in the atrium of City Hall, with the Kick-Off Program following at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers of City Hall, 401 N. Morton St. This event is free and open to the public.

The theme for this year's celebration is "What Excellence Looks Like" and will examine African American excellence locally and nationally, past and present, with hopes of inspiring all members of the community to always strive for excellence. The Kick-Off Program will feature book signings by local authors, Janet Cheatham Bell and Audrey T. McCluskey, and a keynote address by Arvis Dawson, Executive Assistant to the Mayor of Elkhart, Indiana.

In his position at the City of Elkhart, Dawson is responsible for implementing the Mayor's vision for jobs and economic development. Prior to serving as Executive Assistant, he served seven four-year terms as City Councilman for the Fifth District, while working as an educator for the Elkhart Community School Corporation as a health and physical education teacher. He continues to be a group mentor for young men at one of the local middle schools. Dawson has served as Chairman of the Board for Indiana Black Expo, Inc. and currently serves as Executive Vice-Chairman of that organization. He also fulfilled the role of Democratic City Chair for the 2007 Municipal General Election and was an Indiana Delegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Dawson has been and continues to be a member of several boards, including the NAACP, DARE, Salvation Army, the Indiana State Teachers Association, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Trustee Board for Agape Missionary Church, Indiana Minority Health Coalition, the Elkhart County Election Board and the Goshen College Alumni Board.

The City of Bloomington Black History Month will host events throughout the month of February. Other events include the Black History Month Essay Contest Awards Reception and the 10th Annual Black History Month Gala. The Black History Month Essay Contest Awards Reception will take place Thursday, Feb. 26, at 6 p.m. at Fairview Elementary School, 500 W. Seventh St. The Reception is open to parents, teachers, siblings and friends of students. Mayor Mark Kruzan will present awards to the authors of the winning essays in the elementary, middle and high school categories. The 10th Annual Black History Month Gala will be held Saturday, Feb. 28, at the Hilton Garden Inn, 245 N. College Ave. Preceding the Gala at 7 p.m., a silent auction will be held at 6:30 p.m. The evening will include live music with dining and dancing, as well as a presentation of the 2015 Living Legend Recognition and the Commission on the Status of Black Males' Black Male Leader of Tomorrow Award. Tickets for this event are $45 and may be purchased at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater Box Office at 114 E. Kirkwood Ave., online at or over the phone at 812.323.3020. For more information on these events and a full list of events offered throughout the community, visit the Black History Month website.

For more information regarding Black History Month activities, contact the Community and Family Resources Department at 812.349.3430 or