Flint, Mich— Community members gathered inside the downtown Flint YMCA to celebrate Black History Month with live music, read-alouds for children and lots of free food.

Given its century-long presence in the city, Shelly Hilton, the downtown YMCA’s CEO, said it is essential for organizations like the Y to emphasize the fact they are open to all of Flint’s populace.

“I think it’s just really important the community understands that we are here to serve all in this community so the more we can bring people together and have these celebrations and just have fellowship, that’s what we want,” Hilton said.

Baba Kevin Collins, of Flint, plays drums alongside his friends at the Celebrating Black History at the Y event on Feb. 25, 2022. Collins is the CEO of FDC African Drum and Dance Assiciation. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)
Paulette Caldwell, 67, and Michel Taylor, 68, both of Flint, watch live jazz at the Celebrating Black History at the Y event in downtown Flint, Mich. on Feb. 25, 2022. The pair just met that evening at the event. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)
Ashleycae Lee, of Flint poses for a photo at the first annual Celebrating Black History at the Y event in downtown Flint, Mich. on Feb. 25, 2022. (KT Kanzawich | Flint Beat)
Zeg Hill, 66, of Flint, plays saxophone alongside his friends at the Cebrating Black History at the Y event on Feb. 25, 2022. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)
Flint, Mich. residents Jowanne Carrigan and Elizabeth Thompson, and Clio, Mich. resident Linda Manges dance to live jazz at the Celebrating Black History at the Y event in downtown Flint, Mich. on Feb. 25, 2022. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)
Tanisha Thompson, 29, of Flint, Mich. sits at a table at the Celebrating Black History at the Y event on Feb. 25, 2022. Thompson was there promoting her own event, Phenomenal Women Celebration, which will feature motivational speakers, spoken word, and music, at 3518 Robert T. Longway Blvd. in Flint on March 6, 2022. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)
Linda Manges, of Clio, cheers on the jazz band at the Celebrating Black History at the Y event in downtown Flint, Mich. on Feb. 25, 2022. Manges is a member of the Y. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)
James Bryant, 63, of Flint, plays jazz on the bass at the first annual Celebrating Black History at the Y event on Feb. 25, 2022. Bryant has been playing alongside his friends for years. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)

Santiago Ochoa

Santiago Ochoa is Flint Beat's Latinx Community reporter. He is always looking to write about anything Flint or Latinx. He especially enjoys investigative reporting and human-interest stories. A communications...