Chico State will commemorate Black History Month with a half dozen events throughout the month of February.
This year’s theme is “Young, Gifted and Black,” a nod to playwright Lorraine Hansberry, who coined the phrase in 1964. Since then, numerous artists have referred to it in their own works—including singer Nina Simone who recorded the song “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” in Hansberry’s honor in 1969, and in James Brown’s “Say it Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud,” which served as an anthem for participants of the Black Power and Black Arts movements of the 1970s.
“The phrase is a call to excellence as a response to racialized adversity felt within Black communities and families,” said Malcolm J. McLemore, associate director of Chico State’s Student Transition and Retention (STAR) Center. “Our students chose this theme as a way to reignite their purpose as Black scholars, activists and leaders.”
Sponsors of this year’s Black History Month events include the Department of History, Cross-Cultural Leadership Center (CCLC), Associated Students, Phi Beta Sigma and Kappa Alpha Psi fraternities, Delta Sigma Theta sorority, Academic Advising, KIXE, PBS and the University’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. Zoom links for each event are available at the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion’s Black History Month website.
The month’s celebration kicks off with a pair of events on Thursday, February 10, starting with a “Black Faculty and Staff Aux Talk” in Trinity Commons from 2 to 3 p.m.—an opportunity for Black faculty and staff to engage and build bridges with students and their staff and faculty through music—followed by a virtual discussion on Facebook by Hopper Visiting Artist Christopher Johnson.
“Black Skate Night,” at Cal Skate at 2465 Carmichael Drive in Chico on Saturday, February 12 from 9:30 to 11:30 p.m., will provide an opportunity for Black students at Butte Community College to connect with Chico State’s Black student community.
The second week gets underway on Tuesday, February 15, with another virtual discussion in the School of Education Anti-Racism Speaker Series from Patrick Camangian, associate professor in teacher education at the University of San Francisco. The discussion begins at 5 p.m., with the Zoom link and password on the Black History Month website.
The final week of events is a busy one, beginning with food, games and music at “R&B in the Yard” in Trinity Commons on Wednesday, February 23 at 6:30 p.m. The “CCLC Unfiltered Game Night and Interactive Display” on Thursday, February 24, in Selvester’s Café by-the-Creek from 2 to 3:30 p.m. will cultivate a social environment where faculty, staff and students can network and build upon Chico State’s Black community. Rounding out the week’s events on Friday, February 25 is the “Wildcat Block Party” at Yolo Field from 2 to 5 p.m.
Black History Month organizers also encourage the campus and wider Chico communities to support its student-athletes and Chico State Athletics, as the Wildcats basketball teams hosts Cal State East Bay in their final home game of the regular season—the women’s game starts at 5:30 p.m. and the men tip off at 7:30 p.m. at Acker Gym. Tickets can be purchased at the Chico State Athletics website.
The month’s events culminate on February 27 with a church service at 11 a.m. at Bethel AME (821 Linden Street in Chico) followed by brunch at 12:30 p.m. at One Mile Recreation Area in Lower Bidwell Park (off Vallombrosa Way in Chico).
Associate Director of the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Yvette Zúñiga said Black history is worthy of showcasing no matter the month—and that the 2022 events have been selected and planned to appeal to everyone.
“Black history is every day, and we take a moment to highlight Black excellence during February,” Zúñiga said. “We invite our campus community to participate in the carefully planned events in honor of Black History Month.”
Those who require an accommodation in order to participate in events on the Chico State campus or who have questions about accessibility may contact the Accessibility Resource Center at 530-898-5959.