By February 8, 2019 0 Comments Read More →

The Big View – King Kennedy Center

The BigView
By Tasha Williams

The King-Kennedy Memorial Center has been known as a central focus of excellence within the Modesto Community for years. For people of color, the center means much more than that. Year after year, people travel from all over the country to experience the ambiance of love and happiness shared by all who attend the events held in the venue.

For those of you who are not familiar, February is Black History Month. African-American people reserve this month in honor to pay homage to the people and events that contributed to the positive uplifting of our culture. We celebrate Black History all twelve months of the year, but in February, we pay even closer attention to educate and inform our youth about the important African-American leaders who came before them.

Presented by Audrey Spearman, (who is the writer, director, and producer of the entire show), and Sterling Fountain, (President of The King-Kennedy Memorial Center, as well as the event caterer), this powerful and dynamic Duo has mesmerized audiences with a FREE, three-hour original presentations, filled with stories of black history from the past and the present.

Black History Celebrations at The King-Kennedy Memorial Center have always been phenomenal. Performers would come to sing, or a keynote speaker would come to share a life experience. Still, there always seemed to be a little something that was missing. Eventually, Sterling and Audrey got together and decided to join forces and do something extra with the intent of encouraging more attendees to come out and see the Black History Month Celebration and they hatched a brilliant plan of execution.

By creating a stage event that would keep a crowd fully engaged, catering a meal, (made by Sterling Fountain), and served by community volunteers, these women unlocked a treasure. By the end of the program, both Audrey and Sterling had each received rave reviews!

Last year’s show, titled “A Walk down Memory Lane through Black Music,” included local talent selected to act out and showcase different entertainers who performed soulful music, all the way from slavery through present day. That show consisted of a variety of performances of local talent, dressed as and singing songs with the likeness of Billie Holiday, Etta James, and Diana Ross and the Supremes.

None of these events could take place without the help of community volunteers such as Bruce Lockard, City Liaison and Culinary Staff Chef, Mark Kullers. Pam Brazil, Willie Mae Dill, Doris McCarter, Sarah Johnson, Beverly Jones, Diane Nichols, Janay Rivinius, The Boys & Girls Club of West Modesto, and The King-Kennedy Memorial Center Board of Directors, are all included by helping to solidify these yearly, extravagant presentations, ensuring that they continuously take place.

One particular community volunteer, Helen Nettles has been regularly assisting on the culinary side for over four years. Nettles never fails to offer up her services at any time it is necessary. She enjoys coming to volunteer for as many King-Kennedy Memorial Center events as she can. She often volunteers along with the others during the Fish Fry for the Juneteenth Celebration and the Mother’s Day event. I asked Ms. Nettles what volunteering here does for her heart. She replied simply, “It makes me feel like I’m doing God’s work.”

More than anything, The King-Kennedy Memorial Center has been and will continuously be a highly respected and dominant landmark in Modesto, California and the African-American community is proud to have this monument available for everyone to come out and attend events that help shape and form our community. Sterling Fountain put it best when she said, “The King-Kennedy Memorial Center is a place that our forefathers, from the West Side of Modesto, fought to attain and preserve, while leaving a legacy for the African-American youth to be proud of, while educating them about our rich history here. The King-Kennedy Memorial Center, stands as representation of the African-American leaders that will follow, for generations to come!”

This year’s Black History Month Celebration is a FREE community event. The title this year is, “Look Up and See the Rainbow.” It will be held on Friday, February 22, 2019, from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM at 601 Martin Luther King Drive, Modesto, CA 95351.
Culinary Staff and King-Kennedy Community Volunteer, Helen Nettles.

Board of Directors, left to right: Leroy Gambrell, Tony Madrigal, Sebastian Jones, Sargent at Arms, Charlotte Lockard, Treasurer, Ray Prescott, (recently deceased), Sterling Fountain, President, Deborah Jones-Sullivan, Vice President/Secretary, Audrey Spearman, George Russell, and Tracey Potts and retuning board member former president ,Jeremiah Williams

From left to right, Sterling Fountain, President and Audrey Spearman, Director.

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About the Author:

Tasha is a true "Multipotentialite" in every sense of the word! Not only is she a freelance writer, but she also sings, acts, attends MJC full-time, pursuing her degree in Human Services, while single-handedly raising two teenagers, a son, Giovanni (16), and a daughter, Aciemarie (14). Find her on both Facebook and LinkedIn here:,