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Inaugural event to celebrate 'resiliency' of Black Americans

The resiliency, culture and heroism of Black Americans and the African Diaspora will be the central theme of a virtual event Tuesday evening that will celebrate the nation’s diversity ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is slated to speak at the event, “We Are One,” which will also honor the historic nature of her being the first Black and South Asian woman to become vice president of the United States.

An event celebrating the contributions of Black Americans is fitting. Black voters nationwide helped deliver Biden’s presidency. From the start of Biden’s White House bid, Black voters have overwhelmingly supported him. Black-led organizing work across the nation galvanized voters of color and led to historic turnout in key battleground states.

Democrat Stacey Abrams speaks before members of Georgia's Electoral College cast their votes at the state Capitol, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP PhotoJohn Bazemore, Pool)

“This programming will honor acts of resilience, heroism, and commitment to unity from the Black, Latino, and AAPI communities as the coalitions that make up our nation come together to celebrate a new chapter in our history,” said Presidential Inaugural Committee CEO Tony Allen, who is also president of Delaware State University.

Several of the nation’s top Black leaders will also deliver remarks, including House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, a close ally of Biden whose endorsement in South Carolina widened Biden’s winning margin and started his avalanche of March primary victories.

Stacey Abrams, whose voter registration and education efforts helped flip Georgia blue for Biden, Rep. Cedric Richmond, Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Joyce Beatty, Sen. Cory Booker, and Sen.elect Rev. Raphael Warnock will also speak.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris speaks during an event at The Queen theater, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, in Wilmington, Del. (AP PhotoMatt Slocum)

The event will pay homage to the rich history of the nation’s historically Black colleges and universities, as well as Black sororities and fraternities. Harris is the first HBCU graduate and Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority member to be vice president.

The sorority’s international president and CEO, Dr. Glenda Glover, and Howard University President Dr. Wayne Frederick will deliver remarks.

The event will feature musical performances and appearances from activists and celebrities. It'll be hosted by Terrence J and feature Leslie Jones, DJ D-Nice, and Black cultural icons such as Frankie Beverly, The O’Jays, Rapsody.

The celebration also includes a Battle of the Bands and features several HBCUs: including Delaware State University, Howard University, the Texas Southern University Debate Team, Florida A&M University Marching 100, Grambling State University World Famed Marching Band, Jackson State University Sonic Boom of the South, Louisiana Leadership Institute All-star Marching Band, South Carolina State University Marching 101, Southern University Human Jukebox Marching Band, and the Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands.

The event is part of five planned days of programming under the inaugural’s theme of “America United.” It will air Tuesday, Jan. 19, from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. ET on social media and on select channels, including Urban One, Revolt TV and NBC Peacock TV’s, The Choice.