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Stomp, Poetry and Speeches Help Kick Off Black History Month

UCSD Black History Month celebration: singers
UCSD students Amber Green, Udodirim Asomugha and Yolanda Richards sing the Black National Anthem.

By Ioana Patringenaru | February 6, 2006

Children stomped and jumped. Students read poetry. Starla Lewis, a community college professor, urged students to learn more about history on their own. Black History Month kicked off Wednesday at UCSD with an hour-long program, mixing songs, poetry, dance and speeches.

“Black history is our history, American history,” Alicia White, vice president of the Black Student Union, told students who had gathered at the Price Center Plaza for the event.

Black history is barely covered from elementary school to high school, she went on. But at UCSD, students have the opportunity to learn more about it. We may be living in the 21st century, but racism and sexism are alive and well, White said later. Events like Wednesday’s kick-off and Black History Month help raise awareness of these issues, she added.

The coming month will be chock-full of other events, including an appearance by activist Angela Davis, an exhibit about entertainer Josephine Baker and a scholarship brunch featuring actress Holly Robinson Peete, of “21 Jump Street” fame.

Campus Celebrates Black History Month with Speakers, Exhibits, Performances, Films, Workshops and Concerts

Click here for more information about
Black History Month events, or visit:

You can also view a gallery of pictures from the February 1st kick off event

Wednesday, several audience members stood up as students Amber Green, Yolanda Richards and Udodirim Asomugha sang the black national anthem. “Facing the rising sun of our new day begun, let us march on till victory is won,” they sang as the audience broke into applause. Then Lewis, a Mesa College professor, took the stage. She first spoke about her own experiences and about a relative who had been a slave and inspired her. “I’m telling you this because this is black history month and we’re living history,” she said. She then embarked on an overview of black history throughout the ages and all over the world, from Africa to Latin America.

“We need to understand history and culture and understand the connections,” she said. “We all do the same thing.”

Spoken word poetry and a stomp team from San Diego’s Fulton Elementary School rounded out the program. Several audience members said they liked the event. “It helped me feel included in the university,” said Ajeenah Shakir, a fourth-year ethnic studies major. Shakir added Lewis was an impressive speaker.

“She got to tell our story,” the student said.

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