NEW YORK: February’s Black His-tory Month calendar is not enough time to recall the significant impact and influences people of the Diaspora have contributed to the development of Americas backdrop. Especially as it relates to their contributions in the arts and cultural arena. Many people’s contributions were and remain bypassed. Yet out of a simple selfless desire to empower a race that history has short changed, a select group of individuals with the wills of bulls that supersede gate keepers, are determined to control their legacy for uplifting people of the Diaspora in our entire diverse splendor. There is a strong and present gene pool of people enhancing the arts viability, cultural experience, educational resources and community development with a clear course for the geography of South Florida and internationally. They are, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings, Arthur Kennedy (Educator), Marsha Ellison, an advocate, activist and president of the NAACP, and Jamaican nationals, Rosie-Gordon Wallace, scientist, director and curator of the Diaspora Vibe Arts Cultural Incubator and Neil Hall, Architect, Designer, cultural activist and founder of the URBAN COLLECTIVE. The arts are an empowering way to speak to other issues more fluidly and without resistance. We are a people that should not be predicted. With such diversity, desire for change and passion, we can’t be. Ellison is in dialogue for a treatment for a documentary film which highlights Congressman Hastings contributions on behalf of the NAACP and his pivotal ties with Civil Rights Activist and former President, Eula Johnson. Ellison, Hastings and Kennedy are direct ties to the history of the NAACP and the movement of Johnson along with many other civil rights movement activists. The documentary will offer an eye into the lives of people who were and still are based in South Florida. Many had important roles and remain prominent figures in the African-American Community. More importantly, the film speaks to those called to action as “change makers”. Ellison, Hastings and Kennedy have remarkable similarities to Johnson’s life. Ellison shares, “The first time I was personally discriminated against, I felt inspired to make a difference in the world. I wanted black people to be painted in a whole new light, as great people, who can make great changes”. The parallel interest of civil rights, work in community, forming youth councils and challenging a prejudicial American system are what unite the documentaries subjects. Congressman Hastings, an attorney then, partnered with George Allen, also an attorney. They formed a law practice in downtown Fort Lauderdale and worked tirelessly for civil rights legislation and filed a lawsuit to integrate Broward County Public Schools systems and restaurants. He was appointed as a county court judge by former governor Bob Graham. He graduated to the federal bench where he was appointed by President Jimmy Carter. Against customs, Hastings had his swearing in at Dillard High School Auditorium. With a fair share of challenges, the most significant and historical impact is Hastings run for a seat in congress, which he won in 1992. He is one of three blacks elected to congress that year. reconstruction The first, Carrie Meek of Dade County, Corrine Brown of Duval County in Jacksonville and Hastings in Broward County. It was the first time there were any blacks in Congress since reconstruction which goes back one-hundred years. Kennedy a long time comrade of Hastings with a background in education, shares “We have many important markers from the collective leadership and by the feats that were accomplished from those directly affiliated with the civil rights movement and on the periphery. We did what many before us, sought to do, but were not able to. We gained victories and now more than ever we have the latitude to continue great movements, since we do not have to wrangle with elements of fear”. The remarkable thread through and by the diversity of Hastings, Kennedy, Ellison, Gordon-Wallace and Hall, is a common mindset. They all strive to not only advocate for people of the Diaspora, but their messages are clear and are intended to remind us that we are not powerless individuals. There is access and resource through the arts and cultural influences. We simply can’t just speak about wanting it. We go get it. We create. Move into action. We decrease the disparities with an eye on eliminating them all together. We must revisit the most authentic form of communication and that is through the language of communication in the arts in its diverse forms, which is why this documentary is needed and important. Gordon-Wallace, one of the most respected gallery curators and directors in the Southeast United States echoes the necessary sentiments of documentation. Gordon-Wallace wants to make sure there is legacy. She uses her background as a scientist, literally to connect people of the Diaspora. The Diaspora Vibe Arts Cultural Incubator is deeply personal. Gordon-Wallace shares, “The gallery and incubator space has transitioned to a virtual space, yet remains intimate and gives artist the same power of collaboration around the globe. It allows artists to create and express things that are important intelligently”.