ELMIRA, N.Y. (WENY) -- On Saturday afternoon, dozens of people gathered at the Celebration of Black Excellence, at the Ernie Davis Community Center in Elmira. The event was a collaboration of several organizations including the Elmira-Corning NAACP, Elmira Economic Opportunity Program (EOP), and Program of P.E.A.C.E.

"It’s mostly for people to get together for celebrating Black History, so people know the importance of Black History. You need to know where you came from, to know where you’re going," said Willie Owens, one of the event's organizers.

The event featured a fashion show, dance performance, and a singing performance by SingTrece. Owens said he's excited to host the Celebration of Black Excellence -- even after a hiatus because of COVID.

"It is great to be working along with the NAACP, EOP, Program of P.E.A.C.E. and other people contributing to it also. It shows that we work together at a great event, for great history, and a great purpose," said Owens.

The Celebration of Black Excellence was an event for everyone, but especially the kids according to Owens. He added it's important for kids to know about Black History and how they can accomplish anything they want to in life, just like the trailblazers they learned about.

"It’s very important for people to know, especially the kids who were performing because that’s the next generation. And out of all the 28 kids we had, 28 kids got information today that they can store, that they didn’t know about, and they and can pass it (the knowledge) onto the next generation. They can achieve anything they want. There’s nothing you can’t do because the people they (the kids) speak about are the people who lived the same life they lived -- in maybe worse conditions like poverty and racism. But they can overcome those obstacles," said Owens.

Georgia Verdier, president of the Elmira-Corning NAACP branch, said believing in the youth prepares them for the future. 

"They will be our future ambassadors When we are all gone, they will carry on. When there's negativity going on, we talk about it a lot. But when there's positive things happening, we say, 'good job' and move on. We are here to make sure we set the tone for them. We are like their foundation...but they have the energy. So, we are investing in them, and hoping they represent us well in the future," said Verdier.

One of the performers from Saturday's event was Jeriah Moss. Moss said the event was about representing the Black community because it doesn't get the recognition it deserves.

"It’s representing our Black History heroes that don’t normally get recognized in schools. Today’s event was all about appreciating yourself, appreciating the color of your skin, and no matter what you look like -- you’re beautiful," said Moss, a performer with the 607 Unity Dance Team.

Another dancer from 607 Unity Dance Team was Ariana Richardson -- who said the dance performance today was about African culture.

"African culture doesn’t get the credit it deserves. It's authentic, original, and I feel like I can be myself here. So, this month (and event) is to credit all of the African Americans that did stuff who weren’t (given credit for what they did)," said Richardson.