Lakeland University Blog

Lakeland expands Black History Month celebration

Lakeland expands Black History Month celebration


Lakeland expands Black History Month celebration

Lakeland’s annual Essence of Heritage celebration will expand this year to Essence of the Arts, a Sheboygan community Black History Month Celebration at the Stefanie H. Weill Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Sheboygan on Saturday, February 24, at 6:30 p.m.

The event, which is free and open to all, is a collaborative community celebration of Black History while honoring the Essence of Artistry with a talent showcase including dance, musical selections and an educational wax museum showcase.

Essence of Heritage is Lakeland’s traditional Black History Month celebration which is led by the LU Black Student Union and Beta Sigma Omega fraternity.

Those groups have partnered this year with the Black American Community Outreach, a community based organization created to empower, educate, promote and support the black culture and Sheboygan community members of by creating accessibility to resources and tools for better economic growth, academic success, employability skills and volunteerism. Other partners include the John Michael Kohler Arts Center and Sheboygan North High School.

The event’s keynote speaker is entrepreneur and 2003 Lakeland graduate James C. Hayes, the owner of Run The Race Performing Arts Ministries, LLC, which is dedicated to providing hope and motivation to the masses through using Performing Arts.

Hayes wears many hats: Educator, motivational speaker, consultant, mentor, CEO, minister, arts infuser and public servant; but most importantly, he prides himself on wearing the hat of father to Rayanna and Julian and husband to Tae.

A native Detroiter, Hayes is a product of Detroit Public Schools and graduated from Lakeland with a bachelor’s degree in theater and a master of education with an emphasis in leadership of educational organizations.

He is currently an operational supervisor within the U.S. Government working with people to overcome obstacles and empowering them to grow in the process. He is also the virtual ambassador at Trinity Church Pontiac & leader of YA CITY that covers young adults nationally. Additionally, he serves on multiple boards.

With over 18 years of being an educator and nearly 25 years of performing arts expertise, Hayes uses the two worlds to create a unique style that has seen him speak all over the country. As CEO and founder of Run the Race Performing Arts Ministries & Run Your Marriage®, he travels the world training companies, organizations and non-profits to attain their goals through vision sculpting, leadership and ‘follow-ship’ training, team building and personal growth.

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