Parishioners and guests of First AME Church of Los Angeles (FAME) adorned African attire and enjoyed the drumbeats of Africa at FAME’s annual citywide kick-off celebration of African American Heritage Month on Feb. 10.
The worship service, themed “The Diaspora, Retracing the Africa Journey,” included a contingent of Consul Generals and representatives from nine African and three countries in the Americas, representing places from which Africans were captured and/or brought during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.
Guests included elected and appointed officials representing state, city, and county offices; law enforcement officials and community leaders. In addressing the congregation, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti paid homage to the late FAME parishioner and L.A. mayor, Tom Bradley, and called him “the greatest mayor the city has had. From the Metro system, to the airport, to water, African American leadership has been significant and is not just something we reflect backward on; we see it today, tomorrow and the day after.”
The message of FAME Pastor J. Edgar Boyd drew upon the history of African Americans and stressed the importance of setting a target, focusing on the work needed to meet the goal and fighting for the prize – an abiding faith in God. FAME’s Unity Choir and guest vocalist and recording artist Howard Hewitt provided music.
Consulate representatives were acknowledged by Dr. Earnestine Thomas-Robertson, chair of the Los Angeles Lusaka Sister City Committee, and Zna Portlock Houston, FAME member and coordinator of FAME’s 2018 “Journey to Jubilee (‘J to J’)” excursion.
Significant attention was paid to Zambia, the destination of FAME’s “J to J” trip, which resulted in a contribution of three new freshwater wells designed to improve the lives of families.
A reception after the service allowed guests to discuss partnership opportunities related to manufacturing, agriculture, tourism and horticulture, with representatives of African countries. Pastor Boyd announced the next journey to Africa would take place in 2020.
First AME Church is located at 2270 S. Harvard Blvd., in Los Angeles.