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Chico State

CSU, Chico Celebrates Black History Month with Events Including Poetry Slam, Day of Service, Gospel Choir

Just Unity Sistas pose for a group photo
Jason Halley / University Photographer

The student run organization justUS, dedicated to empowering Black women, celebrated Black Spirit Week with a Headwrap Wednesday group photo in front of Kendall Hall on Wednesday, February 22, 2017 in Chico, Calif. (Jason Halley/University Photographer)

California State University, Chico will honor Black History Month with a variety of events throughout the month of February to join in the national celebration of black culture and the achievements of black Americans. This year’s events are sponsored by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Prime Time Productions, the Cross-Cultural Leadership Center (CCLC) and Just Unity Sisters (justUS), an organization for black women on the CSU, Chico campus.

The month’s events, all of which are open to the public, begin on Wednesday, Feb. 7, with a poetry slam at 7 p.m. at UHUB, featuring poetry, music and spoken word performances.

“Art is one of the most prominent ways black people express themselves,” said Kia Smith, vice president of justUS. “We plan to give students a space to express themselves freely through the means of art.”

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion and KIXE TV will host a pre-release screening of the film “Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Historically Black Colleges and Universities” on Thursday, Feb. 8, at 3:30 p.m. at UHUB. Nominated for a Black Reel Award and Image Award, the film explores America’s Historically Black Colleges, from before the abolition of slavery to contemporary times.

UHUB is also the meeting place for a Day of Service on Saturday, Feb. 10 at 9:45 a.m., a chance for CSU, Chico students to come together and embark on a day of community service. After gathering at UHUB, volunteers will walk throughout downtown Chico and distribute food to the homeless population.

“Day of Service will be a hands-on opportunity for us to give back to our Chico community,” said Tray Robinson, director of the Office of University Diversity and Inclusion.

“Black Love Conversation,” happening on Feb. 13 at 6 p.m. at Bell Memorial Union, Room 303, tackles the topic of how to communicate in healthy ways within relationships. This is a discussion-based event and the audience will be encouraged to respond to scenarios that are presented.

“Growing up in the black community, many of us have found difficulty in expressing our love for one another,” Smith said. “Through this discussion-based conversation, we plan to empower our community by asking controversial and thought-provoking questions.”

Focusing on securing employment after graduation, the webinar “Black Student Success on Your Campus: Increase, Recruitment, Retention, Engagement and Completion” will be presented on Feb. 14 at 11 a.m. inside Colusa Hall 100A.

As part of the Conversations on Diversity and Inclusion series, CSU, Chico Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Pedro Douglas and staff member Robert Morton, and ordained minister in the Baptist Church, will lead a discussion titled “Is the Black Church Dead?” This takes place at noon on Feb. 21 in BMU 210.

As a signature event of the University’s Black History Month lineup, the Celebration Gospel Choir will perform at a Gospel Choir Concert on Feb. 23 at 3 p.m. inside Performing Arts Center, Room 144. And modeled after the popular show on MTV, “Wild and Out” will showcase high-energy, head-to-head comedic improvisation and take place on Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. in PAC 134.

The month’s events culminate on Feb. 24, with the Black Hollywood Ball, hosted by justUS, at the BMU Auditorium from 7 to 10 p.m. This is a formal event for black students to recognize black organizations on campus. Additionally, it will include dancing, soul food, awards and a toast honoring those that have lost their lives to police brutality. Tickets for the ball are $20 per person or $35 per couple and can be purchased at the CCLC. All other events at CSU, Chico celebrating Black History Month at free.

“We thought of the Black Hollywood Ball because we realized there were no formal opportunities for black students to come together and recognize one another for their hard work,” Smith said. “So we made one.”

For additional information about Black History Month, contact CSU, Chico’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion at 530-898-4764 or visit