The month of February signals a time of remembrance: Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Sojourner Truth, and the list continues. February is Black History Month, and Cal Poly is joining the celebration designed to honor black history and culture. There will be several on-campus events occurring all month long through the Multicultural Center (MCC).
Martin Luther King Jr. stressed the idea that change within a group can lead to a greater, widespread change. He asked, “Are you the leader of your circle?” The response was “I am,” thus leading to the theme of this year’s events: “I Am.”
“We are hoping to promote education through discussions on diversity – that is the mission of the Multicultural Center,” said Brenton Smith, MCC student coordinator.
Black History Month is also being commemorated by an art display at ECHO Artspace in Grover Beach. The event, hosted by Patrick Germany and the Cultural Collective Group, will begin Saturday and remain through Feb. 27.
There will be an artist reception from 6 p.m. until midnight Saturday with musical performances. Sunday is a day geared toward families and providing entertainment for children.
The exhibit displays the art of many local, well-known artists such as Abbey Onikoyi, the owner of the “Spirits of Africa Gallery” in San Luis Obispo, and Jeremiah Gold, a painter from Los Osos. Gold’s display features works from his “Africa” series.
The work of local artist Chris Matthews will also be on display at the event. Matthews is known for his graffiti-style artwork and depictions of lunar landscapes, some of which were recently displayed at Cloud 9.
Germany believes this exhibit at ECHO Artspace will be a chance to “talk about the positives for the black community.” He said the black community is not really embraced in the area and decided to push cultural limits by creating this event to celebrate Black History Month.
“If I don’t make the difference now, who’s going to make the difference?” Germany said.
Cal Poly’s Black History Month kicks off at 7 p.m. Tuesday with a game of African-American Jeopardy. The event is structured like the television game show with all questions relating to black history and culture. Participants have a chance to win gift cards at the event in UU 221.
“Another Type of Groove” will have a slam poetry event at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Performing Arts Center Pavilion. The event features award-winning slam poet Talaam Acey, whose work has been featured on Black Entertainment Television, TV One and in Essence magazine.
Students will perform a step dancing routine at 11:15 a.m. Feb. 12 in the Spanos Theatre breezeway. Step dancing, a tradition in black history, involves choreographed rhythmic-style stomping and clapping.
A showing of the film “Stomp the Yard” will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 12 in UU 221. The street dancing film features popular musicians Ne-Yo and Chris Brown.
The CNN special investigation documentary “The Noose: An American Nightmare” will be showing at 4 p.m. Feb. 21 in UU 220. The investigation by Kyra Phillips reveals the history of the noose and its re-emergence in United States history.
Hip-hop group Crown City Rockers will perform in the UU Plaza at 11 a.m. Feb. 28. The Bay Area group is known for its mix of jazz, soul, hip-hop and funk fusion. The concert is being co-sponsored by Associated Students Inc.
Black History Month at Cal Poly concludes with a showing of the HBO documentary “Little Rock High School: 50 Years Later” at 7 p.m. Feb. 28 in UU 208. The film chronicles the lives of current Little Rock High School students, faculty and staff 50 years after desegregation. In the documentary, filmmakers Brent and Craig Renaud explore the legacy of the civil rights movement.
Smith said the events on campus are designed to create a “better understanding of culture.”