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Chico State

CSU, Chico Films, Performances and Discussions Honor Black History Month

A digital graphic reading "And Still I Rise" commemorate Black History Month.
Photo illustration by Geoff Wintrup

Amid virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, California State University, Chico scheduled a full slate of interactive events to celebrate Black History Month and invites the community to take part.

Tray Robinson, director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, said contributions from the Black community should be observed, appreciated and celebrated every day—not just during the month of February.

“During this time of celebration, we honor and celebrate Black History Month through an intersectional lens, which is reflected in this year’s events and activities,” Robinson said. “We hope the wider Chico community takes the time to join us.”

Information about this month’s scheduled events and activities, Zoom links and how to RSVP are found at the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s Black History Month page.

A spoken word workshop and community discussion led by “America’s Got Talent” winner Brandon Leake kicked off the month’s events on February 4. Leake will re-join the University by Zoom on February 11, from 5 to 6:30 p.m., to perform his spoken word and to facilitate performances by Chico State students.

On February 15, from 3 to 4 p.m., Rodney Thomson, faculty from the Department of History, will facilitate “The Struggle for Social Justice in Butte County.” The presentation will explore how the focus of social justice activism shifted to the CSU, Chico campus when students and faculty united to oppose local inequality and support the civil rights and Black Power movements—ultimately leading to approval of the first Black Studies Program in the CSU system.

“This presentation discusses these and other events in Butte County’s struggle for greater social justice during the 20th century and beyond,” Thomson said.

The feature film “Mr. Soul” will be presented on February 18 at 7 p.m., with a discussion to follow. From 1968 to 1973, the public television variety show “SOUL!” offered an unfiltered, uncompromising celebration of Black literature, poetry, music and politics, capturing a critical moment in culture whose impact continues to resonate today.

On February 18 at 7:14 p.m., the fraternity Phi Beta Sigma will provide a Black History Month Greek performance that can be viewed via its Instagram account. Following a webinar titled “Black Persistence and Success” on February 24 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., the feature film “Fannie Lou Hamer: Stand Up,” will be screened from 4 to 5 p.m., with a discussion to follow. The film explores the work of civil rights legend, activist and Congressional candidate Fannie Lou Hamer, who fought for voting rights after she experienced difficulty registering to vote in Mississippi in 1962.

The spotlight shifts to the Cross-Cultural Leadership Center on February 25 from 5 to 7:30 p.m., for “CCLC’s Got Talent.” And the month’s events conclude on February 25 with “Our Story: African Cultures and Traditions,” presented by the Black Student Union from 6 to 7 p.m.

Sponsors of this year’s Black History Month events include the University’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Department of History, Cross-Cultural Leadership Center, Associated Students, Phi Beta Sigma fraternity, Academic Advising and KIXE, PBS.