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B/AACC inspires with Black History Month Kick-Off

Patrice+Palmer%2C+Assistant+Dean+in+the+College+of+Business%2C+Dr.+Nikoli+Attai%2C+Assistant+Professor+in+Ethnic+Studies%2C+and+Dr.+Ray+Black%2C+Ethnic+Studies+Tenure+Professor+speak+on+a+panel+at+the+Black+History+Month+Kick-Off+hosted+by+Colorado+State+University%E2%80%99s+Black%2FAfrican+American+Cultural+Center+%28BAACC%29+Feb+1.
Collegian | Julia Percy
Patrice Palmer, assistant dean of social and cultural inclusion in the College of Business; Nikoli Attai, assistant professor of ethnic studies; and Ray Black, tenured associate professor of ethnic studies, speak on a panel at the Black History Month Kick-Off hosted by Colorado State University’s Black/African American Cultural Center Feb. 1.

Black History Month has begun and already helped foster community and embrace a spectrum of identities on Colorado State University’s campus. 

The Black/African American Cultural Center kicked off Black History Month Feb. 1 in the Lory Student Center Theatre.

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The event, themed “Black Destiny Month: Redesigning Our Future,” featured a panel discussion with Ray Black, tenured associate professor of ethnic studies; Nikoli Attai, assistant professor of ethnic studies; Patrice Palmer, assistant dean of social and cultural inclusion in the College of Business; and Isabella Simpson, CSU student and member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

“Why do Black people have to be one thing? You can be Black and be you.” –Ray Black, tenured associate professor of ethnic studies

The panelists discussed the experiences of being Black in a predominantly white community, sharing empowering messages aimed at fostering community spirit at CSU. Attai encouraged students to seek fellowship with their peers, attend B/AACC events on campus and find opportunities to address challenges as a collective.

“You have community,” Attai said. “You have folks around who you can fight with.”

Black highlighted the importance of not succumbing to Black stereotypes and emphasized that graduating is a powerful form of protest.

“You are here because somebody in your past survived,” Black said. “Why do Black people have to be one thing? You can be Black and be you.”

Simpson echoed Black’s thoughts by discussing the need to respect the range of Blackness.

“Blackness comes from a spectrum — it’s not one thing,” Simpson said. “We can’t oppress our own people. We have to be welcoming.”

Palmer shared insights on the collective struggle.

“It is a structure we are fighting, not a person,” Palmer said.

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Palmer also discussed the multifaceted nature of identity, stating that being Black on campus is a gift.

“To be able to code-switch is a gift,” Palmer said. “You can’t separate my queerness from my Blackness.”

The kickoff marked the beginning of a series of events throughout the month. A call to action urged attendees to explore their Black culture and history, emphasizing the importance of education for those not of Black descent.

Kam McMillion, a junior studying criminology and a B/AACC employee, stressed the strength of unity within the Black community.

“I think the togetherness of Black people as a whole is something that sticks out and is very strong,” McMillion said.

Real Talk discussions, held every Tuesday this month, will play a vital role in fostering community among the Black community at CSU.

“I think that people come in sharing their opinions and know they can share in a sacred and safe space that we don’t necessarily always have, especially on this campus,” McMillion said. 

To continue engaging with Black History Month, CSU offers a range of events:

  • Real Talk, held at 4 p.m. on Tuesdays throughout the month, covering the topics Luxury and Image Feb. 6, Dating Feb. 13, Intersections: Gender & Race Feb. 20 and Reparations Feb. 27 in the B/AACC office
  • Feb. 6: Surprise Movie Showing at 6 p.m. in the B/AACC office
  • Feb. 8: Black Faculty/Staff Mixer from 3:30-5 p.m. in the Mary Ontiveros House
  • Feb. 15-16: Category Is… Ballroom! dance class 4-6 p.m. in the LSC Theatre, open to all
  • Feb. 21: Black Faculty/Staff and Student Luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Longs Peak Room in the LSC
  • Feb. 22: Hair/Fashion Show from 5:30-8:30 p.m. in the LSC Theatre
  • Feb. 27: “The Cost of Inheritance” movie showing from 6-8 p.m. in the Behavioral Sciences Building
  • Feb. 29: Black History Month Themed Dinner from 5-6 p.m. at Braiden Dining Center

Reach Kloe Brill at life@collegian.com or on Twitter @CSUCollegian.

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