Minister Lawrance Lee Evans Sr. spent a great amount of time planning for “Ma Akilah’s Cultural Extravaganza,” which took place on September 23, 2012, on what would have been the 45th wedding anniversary of the Ministers Evans. We are now planning for the 2013 “Ma Akilah’s Cultural Extravaganza.”
Minister Evans felt that it was appropriate to bring back the Cultural Extravaganza after a twenty year hiatus in memory of his recently departed beloved spouse, Minister Akilah, who joined the ancestors on June 26, 2012.
The first “Ma Akilah’s Cultural Extravaganza” featured remarks by Sister Ester Gliwinski, City Councilwoman Elaine Spaull, Dr. John Walker (aka Brother Talik), and Father Robert Werth; gospel songs from soloist Minister Myra Brown; and poems by Sister Serwa Balkum, Sister Rajeena Bolivar and Sister Deb-Maisha. We began the program with Minister Evans’ adult students giving basic African history on various African nations such as Ibo, Akan and Yoruba, and give libation to figures from those nations. The audience was very impressed by the students. This introductory event is the template by which “Ma Akilah’s Cultural Extravaganza” will be based in 2013. Next year, we hope to make “Ma Akilah’s Cultural Extravaganza” longer than three hours (the actual length of the Sept. 23 program, which was originally scheduled to last just two hours).
In respect to Minister Akilah’s wishes, we planned to have “Ma Akilah’s Cultural Extravaganza” outside First Community Interfaith Institute Inc. We began to have the program outdoors, but we were not prepared to be out in 50 degree weather. When the temperature dropped, participants and observers went inside to enjoy the rest of the extravaganza. Indeed, “Ma Akilah’s Cultural Extravaganza” is in memory of Minister Akllah Ife (AKA Gwendolyn V. Evans).
The event definitely helped to uplift those who were still grieving for Ma Akilah.