Gahanna residents can watch "Diaspora: Voices of an Ever-Changing America" featuring 92 students at noon and 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 3, in the auditorium at Gahanna Lincoln High School, 140 S. Hamilton Road.

"'Diaspora' is a performance that focuses on the influences, diversity and contributions of the African diaspora," said Rachel Manley, a program adviser. "The 'Diaspora' performance provides a meaningful platform for youth to express themselves at this critical time in our nation's history."

Manley said the performance shows how truly rich and vibrant the impacts of the African diaspora continue to be. A diaspora is defined as the movement, migration or scattering of a people away from an established or ancestral homeland, according to Merriam-Webster.

The idea for the program originated with students who were inspired by the African American Voices English Class a few years ago, Manley said.

Several teachers and staff members began brainstorming ways to make a meaningful program that showcased the influence that African Americans have had on American society, not just historical events and people, she said.

The first presentation was held during the 2012-13 school year.

"Through stories of triumph, struggle and perseverance, the show embodies how essential the African diaspora is to our country," she said.

Senior Kaleea Reditt said Diaspora is like a home to her.

"And a home is built on a foundation of many things -- like family, love, communication, creativity, storytelling, support, humbleness, legacy, dedication, strive and so much more," she said.

Reditt will perform in several acts, primarily as a dancer.

This year Reditt is performing in an African dance that she and a friend choreographed, Manley said.

Junior Michael Asamoah, who will perform a rap he wrote called "Power," said Diaspora to him means a family of people who are passionate about celebrating their culture.

Senior Rebekah Gilbert said Gahanna's "Diaspora" is the coming together of different cultures and ethnicities.

"You not only get a taste of everyone's culture, you are also exposed to the lives and experiences of the people around you," she said. "It's a show that brings all types of minorities together and unites them, instead of pushing them apart."

Gilbert will perform in multiple vocal acts.

Junior Trinity Nhem, who will perform multiple vocal acts, including her own piece, "Unaware," said Gahanna's "Diaspora" means a community made of people with different races, religions and clothing styles.

"Although we're different in those ways, we come together in harmony with our incredible talents (through) poems, songs, raps," she said.

Donations will be accepted at the community shows, with half the proceeds going to Gahannathon, benefiting pediatric cancer patients in the hematology and oncology unit at Nationwide Children's Hospital, and half going to the "Diaspora" program.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla