OC Gears Up for Black History Events
By Dianne Anderson
Events like Martin Luther King Day and Black History Month and all the time-honored cultural landmarks keep bringing Orange County out to recognize that there is strength in local numbers for the next generation.
Pastor Leon Clark, pastor of New Spirit Baptist Church said he can’t wait for the 43rd Annual Orange County Black History Parade. He said his church is financially gifting the upcoming event to support the cause because he sees how much heart goes into making it happen.
“People can look at this for years to come and realize there were a group of people making sure that we not only have these things for remembrances, but we’re carrying the torch so our future generations can see that we have a history that is unique in and of itself,” he said.
His church is also working on research to preserve the facts about defining moments in local Black history, not just for here and now, but for those that will come along later in life – the kids and the grandkids, and their grandkids.
“People in power write the textbooks, but we were left out. It’s very important for us to have these celebrations and occasions so that we can put a mark in the sand, that we are here. We have contributed and we are to be recognized for the contributions that we made,” he said.
Back-to-back speakers and Black history programs are also breaking out at Cal State University Fullerton. Among their lineup packed with focus features, the campus welcomes acclaimed poet, Nikole Hannah-Jones.
On Thursday, February 9, the event will be held from 6:00-9:00 p.m. at TSU Pavilions. Hannah Jones is the creator of the 1619 Project.
“This is an ASI [Associated Students, Inc.] “Beyond the Conversation” event with Nikole Hannah-Jones, she’s a Pulitzer prize winner. She also writes for the New York Times [Magazine]. It’s a big deal that she’s going to be speaking on our campus. I think that’s pretty cool,” said Elaina Sidney, coordinator of the campus African American Resource Center.
For nearly two months, from February 1 to March 26, AARC is also showcasing its collaboration with Pollak Library where Dr. Mei-Ling Malone, Dr. Natalie Graham, also ARC Library Liaison Cotton Coslett have curated a selection of arts and a book display related to the Black experience.
All events align with their theme this year, “I’m rooting for everybody Black” Uplifting and Celebrating our Community.”
“We handpicked books in relation to that theme regarding the Black experience, as well as pieces of art on loan to us by the university archives and the special collection. Some poems were submitted by students on campus,” she said.
AARC department is also collaborating with the Transfer Student Center for a mixer to help Black students, who are reentry adults that are parenting and pregnant students.
“Transfer students will have the same network and support as traditional students, who come straight from high school to college. But, this is a way to show students they have a network of support in regards to their Black identity and their transfer identity,” she said.
The “Undocu-Black” immigrant experience is also in the spotlight, focused on the undocumented Black community in America, and the obstacles they face to access immigration relief. That event is being hosted by the Titan Dreamers Resource Center, which helps undocumented students and allies.
On Friday, February 24, students, faculty and alumni are invited to a Fireside Chat open to the broader Titan community called “One Book, One CSUF,” a program that started three years ago to invite authors to campus to talk about their works. This year features siblings Maika and Maritza Moulite, two Black women and co-authors of “One of the Good Ones” book. They will speak and have a CSUF campus event with a book signing from 3:00-5:00 in the Pavilion.
For the most part, many events are open to the public, but she is encouraging the community to check back on their website as it is updated, and more events are listed.
So far, this year, they are close to 20 events.
“There’s a lot of programming happening, especially this year being the first full year back on our physical campus. It’s like all of my fellow departments and campus partners wanted to show up and show out. I can’t be nothing but happy about that,” she said.
For more information, see https://www.fullerton.edu/aarc/
For information on the Black History Parade http://oc-hc.org/