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BLM Seacoast Holds Event To Bring More Recognition To BIPOC Leaders in N.H.

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COURTESY BLACK LIVES MATTER SEACOAST
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Black Lives Matter Seacoast held a virtual gathering Sunday night honoring area leaders who are people of color. It’s the first event like it for the group. 

Julian Maduro, Events Manager for BLM Seacoast, said that other events celebrating local leaders, such as Catapult Seacoast’s 10 to Watch Awards, have left out BIPOC leaders who do important work in their communities. 

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“This event really was born from the idea and the realization that people of color in the Seacoast aren’t being recognized enough for the great, great work that they’re doing. We saw an event that recognized Seacoast leaders, but there were no people of color on that event list, and we thought that was a real shame,” said Maduro.

BLM Seacoast put out the word that any Seacoast resident over the age of 14 could be nominated by another resident.

In an emotional speech at the awards ceremony, keynote speaker Cordan James Haveron emphasized repeatedly that the leaders being honored at the event deserve even wider recognition.

“They say seeing is believing, and from what I see, there are plenty of BIPOC leaders here tonight worthy of recognition, worthy for us to place our faith in their vision and efforts to continue to impact our communities — to impact the world,” said Haveron.

He added that to ignore the efforts of leaders of color in the Seacoast is to discredit their contributions and make them invisible. 

Sam Searles, host of the event, highlighted the importance of creating a community of BIPOC leaders who can support each other and recognize one another’s successes, especially when other organizations fail to do so.

In introducing Amaya Moore, a high school student who was honored for her efforts to bring African American history to classrooms in Maine, Searles said BIPOC leaders need to create community with one another.

“We definitely build off of each other, so events like this and building a network is a huge thing. There are so many more Amayas that haven’t been discovered yet because they don’t have the right connections. If we’re gonna have more young people stepping up, there have to be spaces available for them.” 

The award winners ranged from successful business owners to high school students like Moore. Among them was a group of students from Dover High School who were honored for their efforts to make their school and community more equitable

In addition to speeches by award winners, the event also featured a performance by slam poet Marlon Carey.