There will be music, food, friends, honors, and awards when the 2nd annual Heartland Black Chamber of Commerce Jazz Fest gets underway at the Andover Amphitheater on Sat., Sept. 17.
At the top of the honors are three new inductions into the Wichita Black Business Hall of Fame. This year’s inductees are:
Bonita Gooch has been the owner of The Community Voice newspaper since 1996 and grew the fledgling company from a newspaper publisher into a multi-platform publisher with a strong online presence including a high-traffic website, active social media sites and several targeted digital newsletters. Now a force within the region, covering Wichita, the state of Kansas and the Kansas City metro area, the company maintains a reputation for quality and integrity in journalism.
Wayne E. Bell is the district director for the Wichita office of the U.S. Small Business Administration, and is a former entrepreneur and corporate executive. Since 2009 he has spent his time helping strengthen and grow more than 12,000 small businesses in 77 Kansas counties west of Shawnee. As the first African American to serve in that role, he has worked to fix a large gap in minority representation in Kansas’ small-business community.
The Rev. John Henry Van Leu was one of Wichita’s early prominent African-American business owners, and, at one point, one of the city’s largest property owners, Black or White. In addition, he was a nationally recognized leader in the National Baptist Convention and served as the state’s overseer from 1896 to 1923.
The induction ceremony of the new Hall-of-Famers will take place during one of the intermissions of the Jazz Fest, which is Heartland’s biggest fundraiser of the year.
The Jazz Fest headliner will be In the Park, featuring Julian Vaughn. Saxophonist Joseph Vincelli and band Natural Change will also perform.
Dinner plus tables and chairs will be provided in VIP Seating, while food trucks will offer food for sale to those in General Seating. Advance tickets are $65 for VIP and $40 for general admission. The gates open at 3 p.m. and the program starts at 5 p.m.