African American Heritage Celebration Feb 26, 2022

When we woke at 6 this morning to get ready for our volunteer assignment at a Habitat for Humanity site, we didn’t know that we would end up with a different assignment. We arrived with our lunches and snacks in our work clothes and closed toed shoes to learn that our tasks had to be postponed to next week. Such is the nature of the building trade, dependent on the shifting schedules of subcontractors.

Since we were already in Largo, we called our friend Kathlena to see what she had planned for her Saturday. She invited us to join her at the African American Heritage Celebration at the Botanical Garden in Largo.

Entertainment at the African American Heritage Celebration

We were able to engage with several local artists who were displaying their work.

We first met Chris Aikens, aka ROD for Rebel or Die, whose inspiring characters come to life with their piercing eyes and strength of spirit. His Wounded Phoenix again shows persevering amidst adversity. I also enjoyed his fashion sense and that of his wife, who was also beautifully dressed. Check him out on Facebook under Chris Aikens or Instagram @rebelordieart

Aikens’ gorgeous wife, Kim
Chris Aikens with his painting, Wounded Phoenix
Artist Brenda Bohannon with her work, Blessings

Another inspiring artist is Brenda Bohannon, who posed with her work, Blessings, an homage to her mother and her gratitude with being showered with blessings such as peace, love and joy. You can find her at

Shanita Allen with her charming children’s books

I met a special lady named Shanita Allen, a children’s book author featuring a young African American girl named Ari. I bought Let’s go Dreaming into the Stars with the accompanying coloring book as a gift for my friend’s grandchildren. You can find her at

The highlight of the exhibit was the works of local students. One of the first prizes was given to Josiah Brooks for his piece, Woven Together, and second prize to Bella Tolliver, both in grade 5 at Lealman Elementary

My companions, my sweet Nancy and our friend Kathlena, planting seeds in the virtual garden bed at the Tree, a life size tree woven with cloth. This was one of the fun interactive exhibits that you were encouraged to touch and share your reflections and wishes.

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