PORT RICHEY — The African American Club of Pasco is celebrating its 30-year anniversary this month, and the public is invited to enjoy the festivities during the Founder’s Day Banquet.
The banquet is scheduled from 4-7 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 21 at the Jewish Community Center, 9841 Scenic Drive in Port Richey. Tickets are available for $40 and will include dinner. Dress attire is recommended.
“We’re really excited about the club being able to celebrate 30 years of existence,” said Ephraim Livingston, club president. “We’re humbled to believe an organization can last that long. There’s been ups and downs, but we’ve mostly had triumphs. We’ve been able to affect our community in a very special way.”
The club was founded by a group of men wanting to make a difference in the neighborhood. It has since grown into a diverse group that features members of many backgrounds and religions seeking to improve society. The Founder’s Day Banquet is an opportunity to recognize the club’s roots and attendees are welcome to share their memories of the AACP from the early days.
The founding members were Eugene Scott, James D. Scott, Hummons Allen Morton Jr., Jeff Light, and Herschel Lane. The Scotts are still active in the club, according to Livingston, and he credited Eugene Scott for inspiring him to get more involved with the club.
The AACP annually awards scholarships to Pasco County High School graduates, adopts families for Christmas, operates a free Kwanzaa principles class for teens, and remains a hub for social events. Before the pandemic, the group would march on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January and had religious leaders from Christian, Jewish, and Muslim organizations present what MLK Jr. meant to them. During the pandemic, the group decided to do a day of service and filled backpacks with non-perishable food for the homeless in the community.
The following months featured events to celebrate Black history month, a scholarship dinner/dance for high school seniors, and Juneteenth celebrations.
With 30 years under the organization’s belt, Livingston said his goals are to make the AACP have more visibility in the community and to attract more members. When he moved down from Tallahassee years ago, he said he searched for an organization that shared his values. Upon finding the AACP, he began to get involved and is now serving as president today.
“We try to impact the youth in a positive way,” Livingston said. “We’ve had an opportunity to have various programs, like the Explore Program and leadership program, that’s our core mission to give back to Pasco County.”
One of the ways the AACP celebrates its culture is by teaching the seven principals of Kwanzaa by focusing on one each month. These involve Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith). One activity involved Ujamaa, with Black business owners speaking to youth about the challenges of running their own business.
To learn more about getting involved with AACP or to buy tickets to the Founder’s Day Banquet, visit https://aacpascofl.org.