While some opted to attend or protest “alt-right” speaker Milo Yiannopoulos’ speech in Alex and Faye Spanos Theatre on Tuesday, others attended Unite Cal Poly — the keynote event of #InclusionStartswithMe Week.
Hundreds of people filed into the Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center (PAC) at 6 p.m. on Tuesday for the College of Liberal Arts Unite Cal Poly event, featuring comedian W. Kamau Bell and performer Allen Stone.
Unite Cal Poly is the third event in the University Diversity and Inclusivity’s #InclusionStartswithMe Week. The week aims to embrace all members of the Cal Poly community, filled with speakers, workshops, panel discussions and movies with discussions.
“It is so wonderful to see a sold-out audience for an event that celebrates the official university goals and values of diversity and inclusivity,” College of Liberal Arts Dean Doug Epperson said. “I could not be more excited or proud of my community.”
With his own television docu-series, two podcasts, one radio show, a comedy tour and a book in the making, Bell is an accomplished socio-political comedian. He has also been appointed an ambassador for racial justice by the American Civil Liberties Union, a position given to celebrities who will use their voice to advocate for racial justice.
“Those of us who believe that the country is not going in the direction that we want it to and is not living up to the standards we have set, we’ve got to get less sleep and do more work,” Bell said.
Bell kicked off the sold-out show with his hour long comedy act “The W. Kamau Bell Curve: Ending Racism in About an Hour.” Touching on topics such as representation, the presidency and inclusivity, Bell turned what would usually make an audience silent with tension into an auditorium filled with laughter.
“I’ve done this show since Trump’s been president and people are really feeling it in a different way,” Bell said. “It’s a very different experience now; there’s … a sense of mourning, but the show continues to push the conversation forward.”
Stone echoed the feelings of unity in the PAC with his live performance, accompanied by a full band. A crowd gathered in the front of the room to join the soulful vibes emitting from on stage.
“I’m a huge fan of Allen Stone, so I’m really excited to hear his music,” history sophomore Phoebe Lam said. “I definitely want to show my support for something I believe in as well.”
“College is supposed to educate you, and it’s also about expanding your world view,” Bell said. “When you expand your world view and hang out in different places and meet different people, the natural tendency is towards inclusiveness.”
#InclusionStartswithMe Wek continues on Feb. 2 with “What Gives? A Dialogue on Police and Community Relations,” a panel held by the Social Action and Adult Education Committees at Congregation Beth David at 2 p.m.
Video by Allison Royal