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Christine A. Stanley, Texas A&M University Vice President and Associate Provost for Diversity and American writer John Keene will speak at New Mexico State University as part of Black History Month activities

Education, Student Leadership Highlight NMSU’s Black History Month

Festus Addo-Yobo, director of Black Programs at New Mexico State University, agrees with Martin Luther King Jr.’s principle, “Nonviolence chooses love instead of hate.” And he would like NMSU’s Black History Month in February to reflect that – and other – principles outlined by King.

Addo-Yobo, who has a doctorate in educational management and development from NMSU, said the community should come together despite any differences.

“We can be different, but that doesn’t mean that, culturally, we can’t come together,” Addo-Yobo said. “We all have many more similarities than differences. Differences do exist, but we do have a common denominator in that we really want to be free, we want to understand each other and we want to be in a society that is progressive.”

The month-long celebration is an opportunity to create awareness and strengthen relationships.

From a feature film to an author’s presentation, and from a pageant to a student leadership conference, Black History Month offers many opportunities for the entire NMSU community.

Following is a list of the events on campus:

Wednesday, Feb. 1 (6:30 to 9 p.m.)
Afro-heritage movie night
“Good Hair,” a documentary/comedy starring Chris Rock
Corbett Center Student Union Auditorium

Thursday, Feb. 2 (5 to 8 p.m.)
Friday, Feb. 3 (4:30 to 9 p.m.)
Underground Railroad cultural exhibit
Corbett Center Aggie Underground

Friday, Feb. 3 (6 to 9 p.m.)
Guest speaker John Keene
Writer John Keene is an Associate Professor and Chair of African-American and African Studies at Rutgers. He recently published a book titled “Counternarratives,” a collection of fictional stories.
Corbett Center Auditorium

Friday, Feb. 10 (8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.)

Guest speaker Christine A. Stanley
Christine A. Stanley, Texas A&M University Vice President and Associate Provost for Diversity, will present “Ideas for Teaching in a Diverse Classroom.”
Milton Hall, Room 50

Friday, Feb. 10 (6 to 9 p.m.)
Mr. and Mrs. Ebony Pageant
Application deadline: Jan. 31
Corbett Center Auditorium

Friday, Feb. 17, to Sunday, Feb. 19
Black by Southwest Student Summit
(Please contact NMSU Black Programs for details)

Friday, Feb. 24 (2:30 to 3:30 p.m.)
African-American Students Speak Out
A panel discussion regarding African-American students’ needs and desires at NMSU will be held.
Milton Hall, Room 50

Sunday, Feb. 26
Appreciation dinner
(Please contact NMSU Black Programs for details)
Corbett Center West Ballroom

Meligha Garfield, peer mentor for NMSU Black Programs and adviser for the NMSU Black Students Association, said education is a major focus of this year’s celebration.

“For the past couple of years, we have not been able to get educational programs on campus, as far as minors or classes dealing with African-American studies, African studies or Pan-African studies,” Garfield said. “So we want to bring some events to our campus that are centered around the importance of education dealing with African-Americans and Pan-Africans.”

Addo-Yobo stressed the importance of the educational aspect of this year’s celebration.

“I’m really glad that we’re bringing Christine Stanley and John Keene,” Addo-Yobo said. “Not only is John the chair of African-American and African Studies at Rutgers, he’s done a lot of work in terms of poetry and narratives. He’s really deep. It’s important we’re bringing both Christine and John, to have different ideas of teaching in our multi-cultural and diverse society.”

The Black by Southwest Student Summit is a new event this year, at which students from about 10 schools will attend, including Arizona State University, NMSU, University of Colorado, University of New Mexico and University of Texas at El Paso.

“The Black by Southwest Student Summit is actually our first conference at NMSU,” Garfield said. “Essentially, the aim of the summit is to craft black student leaders, as well as to educate the public about different issues among the African-American community that are plaguing in post-modern times, both on campus and in the United States.”

Addo-Yobo said the leadership summit is an opportunity for students to learn from each other.

“It’s not African-American students being egocentric, but we want to know: Who are the student leaders, and what are they doing for their communities?” he said. “What are African-American students learning from other African-American groups, from white groups, from Latino groups? What are the sororities and fraternities doing?”

Not only do event organizers aim to create awareness, the celebration provides a cultural experience for the entire campus community.

“Conscientiousness is a learning process, so I think people should come and see some of these events and create alliances for a progressive tomorrow,” Addo-Yobo said. “The entire celebration is really going to be a dynamic program.

“We need to support these programs, not only Black Programs and its cultural events, but others as well. If the feminists have something, we have to be there. If the LGBT community has something, we have to be there. If the conservatives have something, we have to be there. We have a shared commonality: love, peace and happiness.”

All events are free. The celebration is sponsored by Aggies Activities Council, Associated Students of NMSU, NMSU Black Programs, NMSU Black Students Association, NMSU English Department and NMSU Teaching Academy.

For more information, please call NMSU Black Programs at 575-646-4208

Author:  Kristie Garcia – NMSU

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