The Servant Leadership Development Institute (SLDI) is inviting the central Ohio community to "Being Black...In Gahanna," a celebration of cultural diversity for everyone to highlight the many contributions and achievements that African-Americans have accomplished while proudly calling Gahanna home.

The Servant Leadership Development Institute (SLDI) is inviting the central Ohio community to "Being Black...In Gahanna," a celebration of cultural diversity for everyone to highlight the many contributions and achievements that African-Americans have accomplished while proudly calling Gahanna home.

The event is set for 9:15 to 11:45 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 26, at the Family Fellowship Church of Christ, 1020 Taylor Station Road, Suite H.

Sadicka White, president of SLDI, said the group is devoted to educating the public on today's important issues that are relevant to the servant leadership dynamic.

"What we purport is a leadership style started by Robert Greenleaf that's modeled on being a servant leader, where you touch the customer at their need level," she said. "It's inverse pyramid style with the leader at bottom of the pyramid and the customer at the top. You learn to lead by serving the people you're empowered to lead."

A networking breakfast sponsored by Tim Hortons will kick off the celebration, followed by a panel discussion moderated by Gahanna residents Gloria Redding and Eric Troy, both of whom work at the Ohio Department of Education.

The panelists will include respected residents and professionals of Gahanna who have achieved, accomplished and contributed to Gahanna's diversity: Dwight Carter, principal of Gahanna-Jefferson High School; Keith Bell, chief academic officer of Columbus City Schools; Beryl Anderson, 4th Ward council member; and Andre Porter, newly appointed councilman at-large.

The panelists will engage in a dialogue on the future of education, including the pending school levy and the political issues and challenges facing Gahanna, with all council, city attorney and mayor positions up for election this year.

White said one initiative is looking at the diversity of Gahanna, in particular, blacks in Gahanna and why the city has such a large population of African Americans who have made Gahanna home.

"We have a majority of African-Americans who are quite accomplished," White said. "That's part of that celebration. Gahanna has been attractive in that nature. We have a treasure trove of accomplished people."

During the SLDI's first forum last March, White said she found there are black professionals living in the city who don't necessarily work in Gahanna.

"They can almost be incognito or be low key as compared to their position or status as it relates to Columbus," she said. "I called them to action. With some of the talent they have, there are needs in Gahanna and I asked why they aren't more involved in Gahanna. There are four seated judges who happen to live in Gahanna.

"This is black history month and it celebrates cultural diversity. There are some students here who certainly aren't achieving what they could. Perhaps there's more opportunity for mentorship."

In addition to Saturday's celebration, open to the entire community, White said a networking fundraiser for SLDI will be held in the spring and a political debate is being planned in late September or early October.