Roller-skating event celebrates Black joy

Courtesy Black Impact Collaborative

A free skating event will give families a “last hurrah” before heading back to school. 

Black Impact Collaborative (BIC) is hosting Roll.Bounce.GR, a free outdoor roller-skating event series scheduled for 1-7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Aug. 19 and 20, in the north parking lot of New Hope Baptist Church, 130 Delaware St. SW in Grand Rapids. 

Roll.Bounce.GR is a back-to-school celebration now in its second year. The event will feature free skate rentals and vendors offering health, wellness and education resources. A DJ and food trucks also will be onsite for attendees. 

“As we do our work, we know that it is essential that we elevate Black joy – things that inspire, support and uplift Black culture. Roll.Bounce.GR provides Black joy on every side,” said Tanell Hills, co-chair of the BIC Education Impact Area.

The weekend will continue with another event taking place through Endless Opportunities, a BIC partner. The organization will host a back to school event from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 21, at the Baxter Community Center, 935 Baxter St. SE.

The kid-centric event is free to attend and will offer free haircuts and hairstyles, school supplies, food and games. 

Endless Opportunities is a program that provides students in middle and high school the chance to connect with and learn from professionals representing diverse career fields, including education, entrepreneurship, finance, government, medical and technology. 

“The BIC has been a tremendous partner during the past year in delivering educational materials to the community about COVID-19 and other health topics,” said Brian Hartl, director of the Center for Community Health Strategy at the Kent County Health Department. “They have been very responsive to the community’s needs and have hosted many creative events to connect people with helpful resources. This is a great opportunity for families to prepare kids for the return to school the following week while having a lot of fun.”

Black Impact Collaborative is a group of organizations formed to identify and illuminate the needs of Black people in the greater Grand Rapids area in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. BIC was convened and is powered by the Institute of Ubuntu, a nonprofit think tank focused on enhancing the lives of people of African descent in Grand Rapids by cultivating community and healing and promoting intellectual and cultural leadership.

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