By Heather Graves
GREEN BAY – The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Green Bay celebrated Black History Month with the unveiling of the center’s new multicultural room Thursday, Feb. 27.
The space will offer programming to embrace and celebrate diversity and inclusion for local youth through multi-ethnic books, arts and crafts and interactive activities.
“It’s extremely important to offer a space for local youth from all backgrounds, where they can openly talk to each other and to our staff and mentors about questions and concerns about themselves and the world,” said Christina Thor, the club’s communications and development director.
Both centers in Green Bay now have multicultural rooms members can use to explore different cultures.
“My focus in the room will be to promote acceptance, positivity, kindness, diversity and inclusion,” said Magic Vang, multicultural outreach specialist for the club. “In this program space, I focus on having kids learn about self-identity, about their peers and also have interactive, team activities that challenge their way of thinking about the world around them.”
Mayor Eric Genrich, Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach and other community leaders, including Greater Green Bay Chamber members, were present at a ribbon cutting ceremony.
“This is great, really something to celebrate,” Genrich said. “I’m very proud to be mayor of a city that understands the importance of being a community that is for every single individual. Green Bay needs to be a place that is interested in embracing people of all backgrounds, perspectives and ways of life. So this is yet just another example of what we’re doing in this community.”
Mai Lo Lee, director of Multicultural Affairs at UW-Green Bay, said many understand the importance of multiculturalism, but dedicating a space to explore it is what she likes to call “walking the talk.”
“It’s the acknowledgement that’s really important to young kids, to let them know that they are safe in their identity, they are safe in who they are and that the word multicultural isn’t an exclusive word, it’s an inclusive word,” she said.
The ceremony wrapped up with the announcement of the U.S. Cellular Black History Month art contest winners who are all club members. Antonio A. won first place and a $250 prize for his drawing of Martin Luther King Jr.; Raenna J. took home the $150 second-place prize with her drawing of Oprah Winfrey; and Keiara W. took the $100 third-place slot with her drawing of Jackie Robinson.
Throughout the evening, families and friends of club members had the opportunity to gather for a dinner and multiple activities to recognize role of African-Americans in the United States.