In celebration of Black History Month, the Center for Cultural Engagement and Inclusion and Center for Equality and Justice, Black Student Union and Sisters’ Circle have planned different events taking place throughout the month of February at California Lutheran University.
BSU Original: Back in Black
BSU’s original play “Back In Black,” written by Ruby Lee Dove II opened Friday Feb. 21 for three showings throughout the weekend.
Taylor Brown, junior and social media manager for BSU and Sisters’ Circle, played a waitress and had a dancing role as part of the play’s interludes. She said her hope for those who saw the play is that they can understand different black narratives than those that are usually shown.
“We wanted to do this because there is not a lot of black art appreciated on campus, or at least it’s not taken seriously,” Brown said. “This is our chance to show that we can be taken seriously and we are more than just the token black friend in a play.”
Black Trivia Night
The Center for Cultural Engagement and Inclusion is also active in Black History Month Events on campus. The center hosted a Black Trivia Night Feb. 15. They are also co-sponsors of BSU’s third annual Soul Fest.
Third Annual Soul Fest
This year, the theme for Soul Fest is “Roll Bounce,” which BSU President, junior Urael Blackshear, said was inspired by the movie of the same name.
“[The movie] displays black teens in an area of Chicago where…their outlet was to go into the roller rink to skate with their friends to escape the pressures of their neighborhood,” Blackshear said. “That was their place of community, and we want to bring that here.”
Soul Fest will take place on Feb. 28 in the Soiland arena. To go along with the theme, BSU has planned to bring in a roller rink, and there will be open skating.
“We encourage everybody to just show up and show out and please be respectful,” Blackshear said.
Day of Solidarity
Another event taking place on the same day as Soul Fest is the Day of Solidarity hosted by the Center for Equality and Justice.
Sophomore Aliyah Gardea is one of the center’s Student Programs Directors, and it was her idea to hold this event after the recent racially charged incidents on campus.
“I kind of felt like there was some need for appreciation of black culture and representation that the black population is here, and it is an important part of the community,” Gardea said.
The Day of Solidarity will take place on the Spine where students will have the opportunity to buy t-shirts and pick up buttons and stickers provided by the Center for Equality and Justice. Gardea said she wanted a way to show that the CEJ supports students of color on campus during these times.
“[The racial incidents] happening are not new, and it’s not surprising to a lot of us but it is still an important opportunity for us to be able to bring that into the conversation,” Gardea said. “I just wanted to open up something where we can have that conversation but also showcase that the CEJ is here as an ally for minority groups and anyone who needs us.”
Cal Lutheran’s Black History Month festivities will continue as the month comes to a close, and Brown feels that these events give black students on campus an opportunity to celebrate themselves.
“It’s just important for us to have just a little bit of celebration for us because we only get one month out of the year,” Brown said. “It’s a chance to showcase black talent, it’s a chance to showcase black excellence and it’s just a chance to celebrate and be merry in our blackness.”