Fresno State’s observance of Black History Month kicked off Monday with opening ceremonies on campus.
Several events are planned throughout the month with the theme “Black History Month: Exploring the African Diaspora” including a talk Feb. 9 by Dr. Clayborn Carson of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute at Stanford University and the screening of two films, “3 ½ Minutes, 10 Bullets,” Feb. 5 that includes a discussion about Black Lives Matter and “Bridging the Divide: Tom Bradley and the Politics of Race” Feb. 18.
The month-long observance is presented by the Cross Cultural and Gender Center’s African American Programs and Services and the Department of Africana Studies in collaboration with student clubs and organizations.
African diaspora refers to communities around the world that descended from the movement of people from Africa, said Francine Oputa, executive director of the Cross Cultural and Gender Center.
“This year’s committee planned a diverse lineup of events and activities,” Oputa said. “Listening to the voices of our students, faculty and staff, we are using this theme to reflect the current generation while respecting our history and heritage.”
At Monday’s kick off, participants videotaped and wrote their answers on poster board to questions such as, “what does Black History Month mean to you?” and “is there a faculty or staff member who influenced you?”
The opening event Monday included a listing of African-American inventors to demonstrate how African history is American history.
Additional Black History Month events, all free and open to the public, include:
- Feb. 3 (5:30-9 p.m.): Natural Hair Day sponsored by the Cross Cultural and Gender Center. It includes a discussion about the diversity and versatility of the African-American coif in its natural state. (Henry Madden Library, Room 3213)
- Feb. 4 (6 p.m.): Student Leadership Panel sponsored by the Cross Cultural and Gender Center. Current and former student leaders will share their experiences with student government and committees and how to navigate them. (University Center, Room 123)
- Feb. 5 (5:30 p.m.): The CineCulture film “3½ Minutes, Ten Bullets” depicts how hidden racial prejudice can result in tragedy. A discussion about the “Black Lives Matter” movement follows. (Peters Education Center)
- Feb. 5 (5-8 p.m.): Dr. Paulette Fleming Memorial Reception sponsored by the Art Department. At this memorial tribute to the Fresno State art professor who died Oct. 10, her artwork and the artwork of the community’s children and youth that she served will be displayed as well as a special performance by local artists, refreshments and a retrospective slide show. (Conley Art Gallery in the Phoebe Conley Art Building)
- Feb. 8 (7 p.m.): The Essential Blue-Eyed, a film sponsored by Phi Beta Sigma. (University Business Center, Room 194)
- Feb. 9 (6-8 p.m.): Martin Luther King Jr./Gunnar Myrdal Lecture features Dr. Clayborn Carson of the Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University. Sponsored by Africana Studies and Martin Luther King Jr. Gunnar Myrdal Committee. (Peters Education Center)
- Feb. 10 (10 a.m.-2 p.m.): “Pink Goes Red: Heart Disease Awareness” sponsored by Alpha Kappa Alpha. (Location TBD)
- Feb. 12 (6-10 p.m.): African Culture Show and African Student Association inauguration ceremony for new members, sponsored by African Student Association. (Satellite Student Union)
- Feb. 16 (12:15-1:45 p.m.): Freedmen’s Bureau Project sponsored by the Cross Cultural and Gender Center. The presentation, through the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture exhibit, reconnects African-Americans with their Civil War-era ancestors by restoring records and building family trees. (University Business Center, Room 192)
- Feb. 17 (5:30 p.m.): A talk, “How to Love Yourself: Don’t Wait on Your Weight,” by blogger and You Tuber CeCe Olisa of New York, also known as the “Plus Size Princess.” Sponsored by the Student Health and Counseling Center. (North Gym, Room 118)
- Feb. 18 (12:15-1:45 p.m.): “Conversation on Inclusion, Respect and Equity,” an open discussion sponsored by the President’s Commission on Human Relations and Equity and the Cross Cultural and Gender Center. (Thomas Administration building, Room 110A)
- Feb. 18 (6-8:30 p.m.): The CineCulture film “Bridging the Divide: Tom Bradley and the Politics of Race” sponsored by the Africana Studies and Jewish Studies Certificate Programs. (Engineering East building, Room 191)
- Feb. 19 (7 p.m.): “A Day in the Life of: Harlem Renaissance” sponsored by Alpha Kappa Alpha. (Location TBD)
- Feb 20 (8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.): “Welcoming Diversity: Prejudice Reduction Workshop” sponsored by the Cross Cultural and Gender Center. Preregistration required.
- Feb. 23 (6-8 p.m.): Obama Panel sponsored by Africana Studies. Faculty members discuss the eight-year presidential journey of Barak Obama, assessing his record and legacy. (University Business Center, Room 191)
- Feb. 24 (6-8 p.m.): “My Masculinity Helps” sponsored by the Cross Cultural and Gender Center. (Peters Education Center)
- Feb. 29 (7 p.m.): Poetry Jam sponsored by the Poetry Jam Club. (Location TBD)