Black History Month Lineup at CSUSB
By Dianne Anderson
Students at Cal State San Bernardino will get a chance to witness a big piece of history this Black History Month as the campus virtually welcomes this year’s keynote speaker, the award-winning author and daughter of Malcolm X.
Charles Gaylord, co-coordinator of the Black History Month events, said they are fortunate to present Ilyasah Shabazz, renowned scholar and co-Chairperson of The Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center.
At the virtual themed keynote address, Shabazz is expected to touch on historical racism in America, along with the continuing conditions of recent years. The event is hosted by the Black History Month Planning Committee, the President’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Board, and the Santos Manuel Student Union.
“She will speak on ways that we can navigate racial injustice and strategies that we can take on to make sure that our campus is an equitable place for our students,” said Gaylord, coordinator of the Pan African Student Success Center.
On Tuesday, February 8, the event runs from noon to 1:00 p.m. Gaylord said it is exciting to have a close connection to Shabazz, who is a long-time civil rights activist in her own right.
“It’s letting students of the younger generation [know] that obviously we’re experiencing racial discrimination and anti-Blackness in the current moment, but the things that took place during the Jim Crow era was not that long ago,” he said.
Faculty, staff and students will also be able to access a wide variety of programming and topics to choose from, from genealogy to conversations around intersectionality.
Dr. Annika Anderson, assistant professor of sociology, said the events will examine the obstacles facing the community, and also provide perspective on getting to the next level of personal growth.
Talks around mental health and access to resources are critical now. She feels although the stigma historically persists, there is much more to consider as it is coupled with the global pandemic.
“I’m particularly interested in that workshop to de-stigmatize the importance of getting mental health treatment. In that workshop, I’m looking forward to intersectionality and mental health, and also essential conversations with African American men,” said Anderson, co-coordinator with Gaylord on the lineup of Black History Month events.
Even after graduation, she said Black men still deal with the stress of discrimination in the workforce, in terms of hiring or promotions, and being held back in certain jobs and careers. In her classes, she covers the history of colonialism, slavery, and of genocide.
She said it comprises the foundation of America, and it’s how the legacy of racism still exists.
“It’s really hard to disentangle [institutionalized racism] from our society. We’re still facing discrimination, also inequality with earnings wealth, over-representation of the criminal justice system, and difficulties of educational attainment rates,” she said.
On Tuesday, February 15, from noon to 1:30 p.m., Dr. Nicholas Bratcher, Director of Bands and Assistant Professor of Music, and the Pan African Student Success Center, will speak on his ideas around intersectionality. Anderson said that one of his objectives with his presentation is to lend insight into to similarities and lived experiences of people in the LGBTQ+ community.
For those wanting to delve deeper into their roots, a genealogy workshop will cover the basics of scaling one wall that she said most Black folks struggle to get over. In researching the ancestors, the trail usually grows cold around the early to mid-1800s, at best.
Thursday, February 10, Pfau Library Presents Discovering Your Roots: A Beginner’s Workshop on African American Genealogy Research. The event runs from noon to 1:30 p.m. featuring an interactive workshop is hosted with UCLA alumna Charlotte Bocage, a Southern California Genealogical Society member.
Dr. Anderson started her own genealogy discovery back in college as part of her sociology and race class, where she took blood and hair samples to determine her DNA. She was told back then that her results were 100 percent sub-Saharan African.
“I said really — we didn’t intermingle, I was very surprised. I’m not sure if it was accurate or not. I’d be interested in doing it again,” she said, adding that today things are much easier with affordable tests that can trace ancestors with a high level of accuracy.
Other events are upcoming, mostly virtual, and continue to unfold throughout the month.
On Saturday, February 26, the community can get out and about with the Wind of Spirit Worship Center Black History Month event that will host over 100 vendors with Gospel, step teams, games and cash prizes. The Urban Swapmeet event will be held from 2:00 – 8:00 p.m. at 6476 Streeter Avenue in Riverside.
Also on Saturday, February 26, 10:00 a.m. until noon, Rialto Unified School District is hosting its Black History Celebration 2022 HBCU event. The virtual link is to be announced, see updates at https://kec.rialto.k12.ca.us/domain/2140
For dates, times and to register, see CSUSB Virtual Events,