Center for Student Cultural Diversity celebrates Black History Month

University’s Black Culture Cooperative offers events and activities aimed at breaking down racial barriers; Music is History Program Thursday a highlight of the month

2/20/2013 - By: Natalie Savidge
ABLE Women Members of the A.B.L.E. Women (Ambition, Beauty, Leadership, Equality) student organization participate in the 2012 Center Fest last fall, celebrating the groups and people of the University of Nevada, Reno’s Center for Student Cultural Diversity. The women will host a Poetry Slam event Thursday evening as part of the University’s 2013 Black History Month celebration.

Three upcoming events culminate a month-long celebration of Black History Month at the University of Nevada, Reno this February. The entire series of events is hosted by various student organizations that make up the campus' Black Culture Cooperative.

Events have ranged from a movie night, a soul-food dinner and a poetry slam, to musical performances, a pageant, discussion panels and educational competitions. All events are free and open to the public.

"This year, there are more events and they are all heavily student-centered." Jody Lykes, student development coordinator for the Black Culture Cooperative in the Center for Student Cultural Diversity, said.

On Thursday, Music is History, one of the month's highlighted events, offers a night of free, live musical performances that include African/stepping, slave songs, gospel, jazz, rap and hip hop. Performers include vocalist Clifford Porter, vocalist Pat Esters and groups from Word of Life Ministries, Greater Harvest Church, Second Baptist Church, Rhema Church, Bethel A.M.E. Church and the NAACP Youth Council. The event, sponsored in part by the UNITY Commission, a division of the Associated Student of the University of Nevada that focuses on diversity initiatives, begins at 6:30 p.m. in Ballroom A of the Joe Crowley Student Union. Refreshments will be provided.

"We wanted to focus on black contributions made to every field in the history of the nation," Lykes said. "Black History Month is a time for us to remember the contributions made in the past and celebrate what they mean today and what's to come in the future."

Additional Black History Month events include:

  • A.B.L.E. Women (Ambition, Beauty, Leadership, Equality) ask participants to sign up and "let your voice be heard" during the Poetry Slam event held at 5 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 21 in the Joe Crowley Student Union Starbucks.
  • Black Culture Cooperative hosts the Black Action Pageant at 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 28 in the Wells Fargo Auditorium of the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center to wrap up the month's celebration. The pageant includes each participant delivering a speech or oratory of black historical figure, acting out a skit that reenacts a scene from a black film, and answering trivia about black history.

Lykes added that ideally students would reflect on black history all year, but Black History Month provides a unique opportunity for the black community to come together and celebrate its heritage with the Nevada campus.

The Center for Student Cultural Diversity is a comprehensive cultural office providing outreach and recruitment, retention support services and co-curricular programming for prospective and continuing students at the University of Nevada, Reno. The Black Culture Cooperative is a collective of efforts to support Black students in their progress toward graduation.

"Everyone involved with the Center and the Cooperative does valuable work on campus aimed at supporting and building community among underrepresented students and breaking down racial barriers," Lykes said. "The events they have scheduled for Black History Month combine community service, consciousness raising, socializing, arts and education. All of these are great ways to further their overall mission."

For more information, visit the Center for Cultural Diversity: Black Culture Cooperative, call (775) 784-4936 or email thecenter@unr.edu.


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