It’s A Different World: 30 Years Later
The 11th District Honors Tradition – Untraditionally
By Mr. Juliun Kinsey, 11th Episcopal District
It’s a different world in the Electrifying Eleventh Episcopal District. The 30th Annual Black Heritage Weekend was held on the campus of Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, Florida, on February 17-19, 2017.
The thousands of YPDers, missionaries, pastors, parents, chaperones, and volunteers typically expect the weekend’s festivities to kick off with a worship service or concert on Friday night. Instead, the evening was dubbed Denim & Diamonds – an 80s-themed event that allowed attendees to explore clothing trends from the time when Black Heritage Weekend first began. A short program was emceed by Dominique Mortimer, Connectional YPD Constitution & Bylaws Committee Chairperson, and Laurence Thompson, District YPD 2nd Vice President. EWC President Nathaniel Glover welcomed everyone to the campus of Florida’s oldest HBCU and soon after, the crowd was introduced to comedian Terrance L. Williams aka Mr. Charlie.
Once the program ended, the “turn up” commenced as chairs were removed from the floor of the Adams-Jenkins Community Sports & Music Complex to make room to dance. Connectional 2nd Vice President and Jacksonville-native Dzestinee Glenn-Bland (AKA “DJ High Klass”) got the party started. It was a beautiful sight to witness people of all ages dance throughout the evening.
The following day began with praise and worship and was followed by the election of Episcopal officers. After the brief business session, it was time for the competitions to begin. YPDers from across the Sunshine State and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas competed in dozens of categories including academics, arts, and sports. A huge distraction for those participating in outdoor games was the smell of barbeque, seafood, and deep fryers. Each conference in the district was given the opportunity to set up concession stands for the day to sell food and drinks.
After the competitions ended and concessions closed, the Annual Step Show began. Each conference prepared a presentation hoping to raise the bar from year to year. The 2017 showcase did not disappoint. Some made their presentation centered around this year’s theme, “It’s A Different World.” Others simply came to show up and show out. What stood out this year were the tributes incorporated into the arrangements that paid homage to the founder of Black Heritage Weekend and current Episcopal YPD Director, Ms. Sanjena Clay.
In the middle of the program, each fraternity and sorority in the Divine Nine was introduced by name, welcomed to the stage, and strolled as their song was played. The audience exploded when Episcopal President Jamarien Moore “ape-walked” the stage with his fraternity brothers (Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.) to “Mic Checka” by Das Efx. The excitement continued as YPD directors, missionaries, members of Sons of Allen, and some YPDers who pledged one of the Greek organizations each joined the stage to represent. The conference directors ended the program with a performance of “YPD, You Are World,” to the tune of “Candy Girl” by New Edition.
What had felt like a birthday celebration all weekend became a homecoming on Sunday morning during the closing “Sankofa Service.” The final day featured the Rev. Dr. AnneMarie Mingo, former Connectional YPD 2nd Vice President and Episcopal President. Her message, “It’s A Different World So You Better Get Your Mind Right,” hit home for a lot of people, especially YPDers struggling with societal pressures and influences that did not exist 30 years ago. She challenged the audience to become actively engaged in things that matter by becoming leaders in and outside of the church. The service included participation from three other former Episcopal YPD presidents and a former Episcopal YPD director.
The newly elected Episcopal board was introduced to the audience and medals were presented to winners of each competition. Once the names were called and the benediction had been delivered, Black Heritage Weekend/Anniversary/Homecoming came to an end. Success was proclaimed for the 30th time. It is certainly a different world… but the 11th Episcopal District is grateful that we still serve the same God.
Ms. Wanda Ringgold, Connectional YPD Director
Ms. Loren Johnson, Connectional YPD 1st Vice President
Ms. Dzestinee’ Glenn-Bland, Connectional YPD 2nd Vice President
Mr. Birdon “Trey” Mitchell, III, Connectional YPD Worship Director
Ms. Nikia Tolliver, Connectional YPD Committee Chair (Membership Outreach)
Ms. Dominique Mortimer, Connectional YPD Committee Chair (Constitution & Bylaws)
Mr. Sean Lewis, 1st Episcopal District YPD President
Mr. Jeremy Satterwhite, 6th Episcopal District YPD President
Mrs. Murunda Hubbard, 8th Episcopal District YPD Director
Ms. Erin Lacey, 8th Episcopal District YPD President
Ms. Morgan Smith-Murray, 1st Episcopal District
Ms. Sydney Beatty-Schofield, 6th Episcopal District
Newly Elected Episcopal Officers 2017-18:
Mr. Jamarien Moore, Episcopal YPD President
Ms. Ronnika Fountain, Episcopal YPD 1st Vice President
Mr. Laurence Thompson, Episcopal YPD 2nd Vice President
Mr. Ranford Patterson, Jr., Episcopal YPD 3rd Vice President
Ms. Shrin Bryant, Episcopal YPD Recording Secretary
Mr. Richard Davis, IV, Episcopal YPD Assistant Recording Secretary
Ms. ViDonica Skipper, Episcopal YPD Financial Secretary
Mr. DeAngelo Wallace, Episcopal YPD Parliamentarian
Mr. Juliun Kinsey, Episcopal YPD Communications Secretary
Ms. Chandrae Bethea, Episcopal YPD Historiographer/Statistician
Mr. Katajh Kemp, Episcopal YPD Worship Director