Discovering Our Heritage
"We reflect the diversity that is New York," says Thirteen-WNET Director of National Partnerships and Community Events Macenje "Che Che" Mazoka.
One way Thirteen does that is through Heritage Month celebrations, four events held each year honoring the city's rich culture and heritage. "Our partners are iconic, cultural institutions and smaller, community-based organizations," Mazoka said. "We become a connector, creating relationships that sustain impact."
Heritage Month celebration Umoja recognizes Black History Month. Clarisse RosazShariyf, public program coordinator for Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, has contributed to Umoja for three years.
"Each time, the program is unique," RosazShariyf said. This year, Thirteen showed excerpts from the documentary African American Lives, hosted by renowned scholar Henry Louis Gates. Participants heard Dr. Gates speak personally about his own insights and experiences making the documentary, she explained. "That's the kind of quality Thirteen brings to Heritage Month."
Each May, Due East focuses on New York's Asian and Pacific-American cultures. In June, Out celebrates the LGBT community. September marks the annual Cantos Latinos celebration.
Heritage Month events are co-hosted by Thirteen's partners. Surrounding each celebration, Thirteen's programming reflects concerns, movements, and the cultural richness within the community.
"For Thirteen, it's a natural way to support our broadcasts and what's happening that's life-giving in our community," said Mazoka.