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Local Black Lives Matter chapters plan to unite as Black Lives Matter New Hampshire

Performer Adrienne Mack-Davis entertains the BLM Seacoast Gala.
Olivia Richardson
Performer Adrienne Mack-Davis entertains the crowd at Black Lives Matter Seacoast's 4th Annual Black Excellence Gala in Dover on Sept. 30.

Black Lives Matter Seacoast is teaming up with other local chapters to form one cohesive group: Black Lives Matter New Hampshire.

The announcement came at the Seacoast organization’s fourth annual gala, hosted in Dover on Saturday.

“We are all one entity meaning our reach is farther, our work is more impactful and we can really start thinking about what it means to collaborate across communities,” said Kevin Pajaro-Marinez, who hosted the gala and serves as a racial equity educator with the organization.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Talesha L. Saint-Marc, the first Black person to serve on the federal bench in New Hampshire, gave the event’s keynote remarks.

In her speech, Saint-Marc shared her vision of Black excellence — the theme of the night — which she said can be unique for each person’s ideations and standards. She also shared that she didn't expect to be a judge, but she sought out the role knowing that if she didn't get it, she'd still continue to serve her community and previous job as an attorney with joy, as she had been.

Hosted at Rivermill at Dover Landing, the night was also filled with dancing and live performances by Adrienne Mack-Davis and Akrobatik.

All the while, a long line of attendees gathered to enjoy desserts from Southern Girl Bakery, which is based in Doverand catering from Vida Cantina, whose owner and chef David Vargas has been a James Beard Foundation semifinalist multiple times.

Victoria Carrington helped curate an art gallery showcased at the event, which featured the works of local artists of color. Carrington said she appreciated how Black Lives Matter Seacoast paid a stipend to artists that donate their work to be auctioned off, something that doesn’t always happen.

“They’re showing that they value artists, which is really amazing,” Carrington said.

Jermai Harrison, a mental health counselor and business owner, said she came to the event to socialize and network.

“I came here last year and there was so much community and so many resources I didn't know existed in New Hampshire,” she said, “and I said, I want to come back because I need to be in my community and not just around it.”

Olivia joins us from WLVR/Lehigh Valley Public Media, where she covered the Easton area in eastern Pennsylvania. She has also reported for WUWM in Milwaukee and WBEZ in Chicago.

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