Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Black History Month at Chico State

Black History Month is celebrated throughout the month of February to recognize achievements by African Americans. This year, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion has themed the celebration and named it The Black Arts Movement. Campus organizations have created events for students to appreciate the accomplishments of black historical figures.

Just Unity Sistas is a group on campus that aims to unify and empower women. This is just one of several organizations planning events.

Marqia Smith, president of JustUS, said its main goal is to be inclusive and make the black community feel more welcome.

Smith wants to bring black women and students together, allow them a voice on campus, help increase black student rates and have their allies to be a part of it. “We don’t exclude anyone,” Smith said. “Our focus is on black women and supporting one another in what we do to discuss how they feel outside of their social norms.”

JustUs treasurer, Chanel Gibson, said during Black History Month, theirs and other student organizations on campus will be conducting a social media campaign to honor historical figures.

“On Feb. 1 we’re having appreciation posts where we appreciate any historical figure by posting on social media and sharing with other students their stories,” Gibson said.

That same day, the Black Student Union will be hosting “The Black History Month Kick off!” in Sylvester’s Cafe from noon-2 p.m. Ka Lynda Watts, BSU secretary, said its focus is to help give a voice to African American students.

“We focus on encouraging cultural awareness, leadership development [and] current issues that go on worldwide and also on campus,” Watts said. “[And we] collaborate with the university administration and other student organizations on campus, plus the community as well.”

Members from other campus organizations also plan to do activities to celebrate and appreciate the black community. Other organizations include:

· Men of Honor: This organization was created to help black men feel more acclimated to campus. It aims to form a community of men to support and motivate one another, to speak out and share their ideas.

· African Student Union: This organization focuses on positively sharing their knowledge, their African American heritage and lifestyle.

· Phi Beta Sigma: Is a black fraternity who’s motto is “culture for service and service for humanity.” Its aims are to make bigger and better business, promote social action and education.

· National Society of Black Engineers: Their mission is to increase the number of responsible black engineers who exceed academically, professionally and impact the community.

Other events hosted by these groups include a Black Empowerment Workshop series, an art show, showings of films such as DOPE and a Black Ball to conclude the month.

Cross Cultural Leadership Center Assistant Program Coordinator Egypt Howard suggests students attend the showing of DOPE because it is reflective and based in Inglewood. Howard said many students are from that area and can relate to some of the experiences in the movie.

DOPE is showing Feb. 10 at 6 p.m. at the CCLC.

“These events are welcome to everyone, but it’s mainly an opportunity to welcome black students,” Howard said. “My hope is for students to build relationships, connect and build a better knowledge base of people who helped America.”

Karen Limones can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.

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