Winni Smith, who moved to Killeen about two years ago, was excited about the Central Texas Black Expo. She attended part of the daylong event last year, but wanted to experience all the different vendors and performances Saturday at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center.

“I like the comradeship, and it helps me meet other people,” Smith said. “It’s extremely nice and well put together. I’m very impressed.”

About 40 small businesses and organizations set up shop during the expo, and attendees were entertained by an African-inspired fashion show and a high school step competition.

The family event, sponsored by Alpha Kappa Alpha, is an annual scholarship fundraiser, said TaNeika Driver, AKA chapter president, NAACP Killeen branch president and chairperson of the expo.

“It allows us the opportunity to give back to the young people and (stress) the importance of education, as well as helping them pursue their educational goals,” she said.

Last year, the organization raised $10,500 and distributed the funds to Killeen, Copperas Cove, Belton and Temple independent school district students.

It also was a great way to tie into Black History Month, Driver said. “We wanted to have something for the entire community.”

Pamela Charles, of Killeen, attended the event to support AKA’s “I strive, I succeed” mentorship initiative.

The program reinforces the values she passes down to her daughter, Charles said. “It helps me along the way with what I set my rules to. They’re putting the icing on the cake by reiterating what I’m teaching her.”

Charles said she enjoyed the vendors, which offered hard-to-find collectables, spa services, home decor and educational information.

“It’s wonderful to support the local mom and pop businesses,” she said.

Contact Sarah Rafique at or (254) 501-7549. Follow her on Twitter at KDHreporter.

I'm the education reporter at the Killeen Daily Herald. Follow me on Twitter at

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