New Rochelle — MBK NewRo sponsored a great event in cooperation with MBK Mount Vernon, Thursday, February 15th, with 230 attendees treated to a private screening of “Black Panther,” a VIP reception and a lively panel discussion following the film. The $5,000 in net proceeds from the event will be used to create job training and career readiness programs for MBK youth in both communities. Non-profit partner The Guidance Center of Westchester will create that programming.
As Westchester residents scramble to find a seat at sold-out “Black Panther” shows, 230 residents from New Rochelle and Mount Vernon were treated to an early private IMAX screening of the blockbuster hit on Thursday evening at Regal New Roc Theater. The event, which included a VIP reception with food offerings from New Rochelle’s A Place to Go and an engaging panel discussion following the film, was about more than watching the blockbuster hit, however.
“While we were all excited about the historic movie, what I’m most pleased with is that the organizing committee was always mindful that we needed to raise funds for seed money to implement programming that would have long-term positive economic impacts for young people in Mount Vernon and New Rochelle,” notes Kenneth Plummer, owner of Kensworth Consulting and one of the organizers of the event.
“It was incredible to bring our communities together to watch this historic movie, but it was also important that we do some fundraising so that we can work to move our MBK youth forward,” echoes Councilman Jared Rice, co-chair of My Brother’s Keeper in New Rochelle and another organizer of the screening.
Net proceeds from the event – estimated to be $5,000 — will be given to the My Brother’s Keeper chapters in New Rochelle and Mount Vernon. Non-profit partner The Guidance Center of Westchester will use the proceeds to create job training and career readiness programs for MBK students from both communities. To make a donation to help provide career training to MBK youth in New Rochelle and Mount Vernon, please send a check made out to The Guidance Center of Westchester with MBK NR & MV on the memo line and mailed to Daniel Bonnet, The Guidance Center of Westchester, 256 Washington St., Mount Vernon, NY 10553.
New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson said this about MBK in New Rochelle. “MBK is forging partnerships and collaborations among groups and agencies that are already doing good work so now there is a seamless connection among all those efforts to help students move forward from preschool to career development.”
Sponsors of this special film screening and fundraiser included: The Guidance Center of Westchester, Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow, NRP, Benchmark Title, Councilman Jared Rice, DJ Islam, the law firm of Lauren Raysor, Grandview Consulting Group, Webb Development, DNK Events, Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY 16th District), Mayor Richard Thomas of Mount Vernon, Adhim Deveaux and Kensworth Consulting. Distinguished guests included Mayor Noam Bramson of New Rochelle, Mayor Richard Thomas of Mount Vernon and New Rochelle High School Principal Reggie Richardson, co-chair of MBKNewRo.
Four distinguished panelists discussed the powerful impact of the film and the topic “Black Representation in the Media,” including: Mayor Richard Thomas of Mount Vernon, Dean Meminger (Criminal Justice Reporter for Spectrum News NY 1), Alitha Martinez (Artist at Marvel Comics), and Selena Hill (Digital Editor with Black Enterprise magazine).
At the end of the movie, King T’Challa demonstrated the kind of moral leadership on the world stage that attendees were delighted to applaud. “Black Panther,” directed by 31-year-old Ryan Coogler, has already broken box office records with a $218 million opening.
Young movie attendees also learned an important lesson when five students volunteered to move to the back of the theater to open up seats and were rewarded with free passes to return to Regal New Roc.
New Rochelle and Mount Vernon are among the seven communities in Westchester that have accepted the My Brother’s Keeper Challenge that President Obama presented to the country in February 2014. 300 communities across the country have also accepted the My Brother’s Keeper Challenge, including Yonkers, White Plains, Greenburgh, Ossining and Peekskill.
In April 2015, New Rochelle became the first community in Westchester and one of the first in the state to embrace the cradle-to-career initiative designed to lift all students, particularly boys and young men of color. Since then, MBKNewRo has pioneered a Take a Student Ambassador to Work Day, launched a Community Reads program, assisted Municipal Housing in the creation of an African-American Cultural Center and Library, and implemented a Summer Camp Scholarship initiative.