Lift Every Voice Global Directory

Find a Local Event Celebrating the Opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Lift Every Voice is a global initiative highlighting organizations co-celebrating the Grand Opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, which showcases the depth and breadth of African American history and culture across the nation and around the world. 

Registered events and activities may occur any time within the inaugural year (September 2016 through December 2017). To learn more about Watch Parties, Signature Events and Co-Celebrations in your area, search the Global Directory below. If you are interested in organizing a local event, we'd like to hear about it and add it to this directory.

District Of Columbia


Event Type: Signature Event
Organized by: Cuisine Noir Magazine
Location: Washington, District Of Columbia

Cuisine Noir will be a part of history as its Fall 2014 print cover with Chef Joe Randall will be included in a montage of magazines for a video produced by the Smithsonian Channel about African American cuisine for the museum’s galleries. To celebrate, Cuisine Noir is hosting a special food and wine reception in DC in honor of the museum and the contributions by Blacks to cuisines that have influenced the world.  “An Evening of Culinary Excellence Reception” will take place on Monday, September 26 from 6 – 9:30 pm at the Toolbox Pilates Art Studio located at 1627 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.

Event Type: Co-Celebration
Organized by: DC Host Committee
Location: Washington, District Of Columbia

The DC Host Committee, an official city-wide volunteer group comprised of community organizations, civic groups, religious institutions and individuals from the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia will extend DC hospitality beyond the boundaries of the mall by organizing city-wide cultural events to celebrate NAAMHC’s historic opening. The purpose of the Host Committee is to ensure the visibility of the Museum’s opening by local businesses, organizations, government, educational and religious institutions getting involved in the celebration. The overarching goal is to create an atmosphere around town where visitors feel welcome, comfortable and safe as they explore the DC area and attend on-going cultural activities, specifically programs scheduled at the many African American landmarks, monuments and other places of interest. In the spirit of NAAMHC’s mission, “to celebrate American History through the African American lens and the innumerable contributions of African Americans”, the DC Host Committee is organizing local events that will take the Museum’s mission onto the streets and into the hearts of all who are looking to be a part of the celebration. Events run from September 17 - October 2, 2016 and many are free to the public.

The events scheduled are not only entertaining but educational. They include book-signings, concerts, exhibits, drum circles, movie screenings, receptions and “watch parties”. Event highlights include the following:

Festival of the Arts at the African American Civil War Museum (AACW) 1925 Vermont Avenue NW
Official Welcoming Reception, Thursday, September 22, 7-9pm
Saturday, September 24-All Day Activities
AACW Watch Party, 10-12noon
Descendants Presentation, 1-2pm
“Battle Hymn of a Freedman”, a play by Clarence Anthony Bush, descendent of a member of the 2nd Regiment US Colored Troop that tells the story of the 1864 Fort Pillow Massacre in Tennessee, 2-3:30pm; 4:30-6pm
Live music 3:30-4:30pm; 6-8pm
Free shuttle service from AACW to Mall, 12noon-8pm

“A Historical Odyssey from the Cradle to Liberation”, features a 200 voice community choir singing chants, slave songs and spirituals. Sunday, September 18, 5pm at Shiloh Baptist Church, 1500 Ninth Street, NW
“A Tribute to Black Classical Composers”, celebrates organ and vocal compositions. Friday, September 23, 7pm at National City Christian Church, 5 Thomas Circle, NW
“Singing Our Song”, a concert of hymns and traditional gospel music written by great gospel and hymn composers such as Charles Tindley, Thomas Dorsey, Lucy Campbell and many others. Sunday, September 25, 3pm at Vermont Avenue Baptist Church, 1630 Vermont Avenue, NW

Drum Circle
Drumming for the Spirit: Remembering and Celebrating our Ancestors, Elders and Youth. Sunday, September 25, 4:30pm at Malcolm X (Meridian) Park, 16th Street between Euclid and W Streets

Statehood Party Reception. Wednesday, September 21, 6-8pm at the John Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.
Embassy of Trinidad & Tobago. Friday, September 23, 7pm at Howard University Cramton Auditorium, 2455 6th Street NW

Watch Parties
For the many that will not be able to attend NMAAHC’s Opening Ceremony on the mall, “watch parties” are the next best thing. The purpose of these gatherings is to bring people together as they witness history in the making. Churches and other venues around town will open their doors to watch the event via live stream broadcast. The watch party has its origin in the historical December 31, 1862 “Freedom’s Eve” when African American slaves and allies gathered in churches awaiting news that the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed. Hosted in each of the eight DC wards and surrounding areas, watch parties will celebrate the occasion in unique fashion. A complete listing of watch parties scheduled by the Host Committee can be found at

DC Host Committee events are the result of incredible collaboration with partners all over DC, Maryland and Virginia, and organizing the logistics and funding for these events are no easy tasks. Committee co-chairs, Dr. Frank Smith Jr., Director of the African American Civil War Museum and Mr. Charles “Chuck” Hicks, Chair of the Black History Committee hold meetings on a weekly basis with more than 200 dedicated volunteers. These Volunteers of diverse backgrounds, talents and skills work on sub-committees that handle event planning, communications, community outreach, logistics and fund raising. The Host Committee will recruit and train one hundred “Ambassadors”- volunteers who will be strategically placed throughout the city on September 24 to assist visitors providing them with brochures and information on the many events taking place and directions on how to get there, and the Committee’s website will give a complete list of events and activities that will be updated daily.

“We have waited a long time for the work, life, culture and recognition of African Americans to be placed and honored on the National Mall,” said Mr. Hicks. “Let’s make sure that we not only take part in this celebration, but we do all that we can to show the country and the world what DC hospitality really looks like, so much that everyone will join in the fight for Statehood.”

September 24, 2016 will be a time of pride and celebration for all Americans with extraordinary events taking place throughout the nation’s capital, Virginia and Maryland, and there is still time to get involved. DC Host Committee meetings are held every Wednesday from 5:30-7:30pm at the African Civil War Museum, 1925 Vermont Avenue, NW. All interested in volunteering or signing up to be an Ambassador should attend the Host Committee’s scheduled meetings. For further information, contact Dawn Chitty at or call 202-667-2667. If you are interested in making a donation you can do so on the Host Committee’s website.

For a complete list of activities, date, time and transportation directions, consult the DC Host Committee website at Any organization holding events that are open to the public from September 17- October 2 can list their events on the Host Committee’s website as well. For more events information, contact DC Host Committee Co-chair Chuck Hicks at or Vyllorya Evans, Events Committee chair at

Event Type: Signature Event
Organized by: DC Metro HBCU Alumni Alliance, Inc.
Location: Washington, District Of Columbia
Event Type: Signature Event
Organized by: Faith United Church of Christ
Location: Washington, District Of Columbia

On Thursday, September 25, 2016, at 6:30 p.m. Curator Elaine Nichols will be the guest speaker for our Faithful Living Series. She will answer questions about the grand opening and discuss the work that went into gathering artifacts for the new museum.

Faith UCC is located at 4900 10th St. NE, Washington, D.C., 20017. The event is free and open to the public. For more information call 202-635-7777 or email

Event Type: Signature Event
Organized by: GauraVani LLC
Location: Washington, District Of Columbia

The noise of this year’s presidential elections is loud and divisive, and the volume is increasing. If you love your neighbor without consideration of their religion, politics, race, sex, age, economic status, it may seem there is no place for your voice to be heard. Chant music has long powered revolutionary action from Gandhi to Martin Luther King Jr. and the U.S. Civil Rights movement. Chant4Change is “conscious action” – an alternative to the negativity.

On 10/08, one month before Election Day, thousands will gather on the steps of the iconic Lincoln Memorial and raise their voices in unity, peace and harmony to celebrate and heal our nation. Featuring legendary musicians including Sweet Honey in the Rock, Jai Uttal, MC Yogi, Mikey Pauker and thought leaders including Radhanath Swami, Chant4Change is focused on a universal message of healing, brotherhood and faith.

Event Type: Co-Celebration
Organized by: GirlTrek
Location: Washington, District Of Columbia
Date: September 1, 2017 - September 3, 2017
Organized by: Grace Children of Congress
Location: Washington, District Of Columbia
Event Type: Signature Event
Organized by: Hillcrest Children and Family Center
Location: Washington, District Of Columbia