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Source: Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District

Photo: Musical artist and activist Jasiri X is a featured speaker at Grossmont College's Black History Month commemoration.

January 28, 2017 (El Cajon) -- Music, art, a poetry slam, and a discussion on black activism at Grossmont College and a Martin Luther King Jr. tribute, a panel of young African-American professionals, and a presentation on institutional slavery at Cuyamaca College are among February's Black History Month events.

A rich selection of events are being offered at both colleges to honor the traditions, legacies and movements of African-Americans.

Highlighting Grossmont College events are a trio of African-American notables who have made their marks in today's world: musical artist and activist Jasiri X, animator Tony Washington, and Marlin Briscoe, the NFL's first African-American starting quarterback.

Cuyamaca College will feature a discussion on the incarceration of African-American males and a performance by the National Pan-Hellenic Step Show.

“We are excited and looking forward to seeing each of these individuals who will be on campus for a presentation, discussion and Q and A session,” said Grossmont College counselor James Canady, one of the event coordinators.

Grossmont College’s Black History Month events are:

  • Tuesday and Wednesdays Feb. 7-Feb. 22: “Jazz Kitchen with Soul Food Specials” features Jazz Studies student performers led by Music Department chair Derek Cannon and all-day lunch specials at Griffin Grill in Griffin Center.
  • Monday, Feb. 6, 1-2:30 p.m.: A 1-2:30 p.m. presentation in Griffin Gate, Building 60, by nationally acclaimed artist/animator Tony Washington.
  • Thursday, Feb. 9, 3:30-5:30 p.m.: Musical artist and activist Jasiri X emerged on the national scene in 2007 with the powerful hit song “Free the Jena 6” and his critically acclaimed album Black Liberation Theology (2015) is recognized as a soundtrack for today’s civil rights movement. He will speak from 3:30-5:30 p.m. in Room 220, Building 26.
  • Monday, Feb. 13, 1-3 p.m.: “Representations of Femininity and Spirituality in African and African-American Art” is an art exhibit hosted by Gwyneth Mapes and T Ford in Room 220, Building 26. Denise Rodgers, professor of Art History and manager of Mesa College Foundation African Art Collection, will present artwork produced by and for African and African-American women.
  • Thursday, Feb. 16, 1-2:30 p.m.: Umoja and Puente program coordinators and students present “Voices of our Students” in Room 522, Building 55.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 22, 12:30-2:30 p.m.: Marlin Briscoe, the first starting African-American NFL quarterback, and recent inductee into the College Hall of Fame, played for the Denver Broncos and after 11 games, was nominated and became the runner-up for Rookie of the Year. The event in Griffin Gate, Building 60 will be hosted by Jim Tolbert as Briscoe discusses his greatest lesson in life: persistence.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 21, 7-9 p.m.: Join Sydney Brown and T Ford in Room 355, Building 36, for an African-American Read-In of literature by African-American writers.
  • Thursday, Feb. 23, 5:30-8:30 p.m.: Directed by Roxanne Tuscany and James Canady, the Umoja Program will host the first poetry competition of Region 10 community colleges, including City, Southwestern, Mesa and MiraCosta colleges. The event will be held in Room 220, Building 26.
  • Monday, Feb. 27, 10 a.m.-noon: A transfer workshop about Historically Black Colleges and Universities at Griffin Gate in Building 60 will give students an opportunity to ask questions and learn transfer requirements for HBCUs.
  • Feb. 16, 27 and 28: “Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep South” features a Part 1 film screening and Part 2 guest speaker.  Filmmaker Katrina Browne discovers that her New England ancestors were the largest slave-trading family in U.S. history. She and nine cousins, including Tom DeWolf, author of “Gather at the Table: The Healing Journey of a Daughter of Slavery and a Son of the Slave Trade,” retrace the transatlantic slave trade dubbed the Triangle Trade. The screenings are 3:30-5 p.m., Feb. 16, in Griffin Gate, Building 60, and 5:30-7 p.m. Feb. 27 in Room 220, Building 26. DeWolf will speak 2-4:30 p.m. Feb. 28 in Griffin Gate.

Cuyamaca College’s Black History Month events are:

  • Wednesday, Feb. 1, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.: The Black Student Union will be participating in the Student Involvement Fair Feb. 1 in the Grand Lawn. There will be free food and music.
  • Friday, Feb. 3, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.:  The legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. will be celebrated in Room I-207 in the Student Center with a luncheon, speaker and spoken-word performance.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 8, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: “The Mass Incarceration of African-American Males: A Return to Institutionalized Slavery, Oppression and Disenfranchisement of Constitutional Rights” is a presentation by Tanis Stark in the Cross Cultural Center, Room I-128 in the Student Center. The focus will be on how the American justice system disenfranchises African-American males of their constitutional rights of liberty and equal justice, thus placing them in a system of de facto slavery.
  • Thursday, Feb. 9, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: The College Hour Black Excellence Panel will be convening in Room I-207 in the Student Center and will feature young African American professionals from different career industries. They will share their experience in the workforce as young African-American professionals.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2-3 p.m.: Moriah Gonzalez-Meeks and Alazar Tesfamariam will facilitate a history panel in Room I-207 in the Student Center.
  • Friday, Feb. 24, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.: San Diego State University’s National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) presents The NPHC Step Show in the quad area in front of the STEM Center. NPHC is home to the historically black fraternities and sororities. The step show will consist of step and strolling performances.
  • Monday, Feb. 27, 3-6 p.m.: The Black Student Union hosts a viewing of “The Birth of a Nation” in the Digital Theater in B-101. This film is based on the story of Nat Turner, the enslaved man who led a slave rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia, in 1831.

All events are open to the public. Grossmont College is at 8800 Grossmont College Drive. Cuyamaca College is at 900 Rancho San Diego Parkway in the community of Rancho San Diego. For more information about the colleges, go to

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