Cross Cultural Centers | Spotlight

February is
Black History Month...

Black Talk Series
Tue., Feb. 1, 3:15 p.m., Los Angeles Room C, University-Student Union (U-SU)
Join the Pan African Student Resource Center (PASRC) and affiliated Black student groups to ponder the hot topics in the young, Black community today.

The Lyrical Getaway – PASRC Comedy and Spoken Word Night
Wed., Feb. 2, 6:15 p.m., U-SU Theater
Join the Pan African Student Resource Center to kick off Black History Month with an evening of socially and politically conscious (and fun and superficial, too!) comedy, poetry, and spoken word by students and local performers.

Imagining Black Boyhoods: A Talk by Dr. Michael Dumas
Mon., Feb. 7, 4:30 p.m, L.A. Room, U-SU
Michael Dumas, assistant professor of social and cultural analysis of education at CSU Long Beach, argues that the absence of Black boys in the public imagination of childhood and in popular and academic discussions of Black males and masculinity have rendered Black boyhood both unimagined and unimaginable.

PASRC Film Series: Rise and Fall of Jim Crow, part 1
Wed., Feb. 9, 3:15 p.m., PASRC, U-SU room 206
The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow offers the first comprehensive look at race relations in the U.S. between the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement. Part One focuses on the years 1865–1896, and the origins of Jim Crow, the empty promises of Emancipation, and African Americans’ efforts to assert their new constitutional rights despite the violence and resistance they faced from southern whites. Directed by Bill Jersey, 2002, 56 minutes.

PASRC Film Series: Rise and Fall of Jim Crow, part 2
Wed., Feb. 16, 3:15 p.m., PASRC, U-SU room 206
Part Two of The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow focuses on the years 1896-1917, and the continuation of Jim Crow segregation despite the emergence of a successful Black middle class and Black intellectual and political power. Directed by Richard Wormser, 2002, 56 minutes.

PASRC Film Series: Rise and Fall of Jim Crow, part 3
Wed., Feb. 23, 3:15 p.m., PASRC, U-SU room 206
Part Three of The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow focuses on the years 1917-1940, and the massive Black migration out of the South, increasing strength of Black resistance movements, and the emerging coalitions building for social change. Directed by Bill Jersey, 2002, 56 minutes.

Juke Joint and Blues at Hattie Mae’s Café Thu., Feb. 24, 6 p.m., L.A. Room, U-SU
Admission includes a delicious soul food buffet, dancing, and live entertainment by CSULA alumna Melissa James and her band (MsJames and the Playhouse Players), and the world-renowned Arthur Adams Blues Band! Tickets are $3 for students and $5 for faculty, staff, and general admission. Tickets will be available at the U-SU Administration Office, through Wed., Feb. 23.

Students and staff take The Next Step for social justice during weekend retreat

Group picture of The Next Step students and staff facilitators.

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity,” said Martin Luther King, Jr.

During the holiday weekend, in commemoration of the legacy of African American civil rights leader Dr. King, 35 Cal State L.A. students discussed social justice, explored their identities, and discovered ways to use their lives to make a difference in society.

The Next Step Social Justice Retreat, sponsored by the Cross Cultural Centers and held in the University-Student Union, is an annual weekend retreat where students embark on a journey of self-discovery and self-reflection around a number of topics related to racism, sexism, heterosexism, classism, and more.

“The program is framed in the spirit of Paolo Freire’s ‘Pedagogy of the Oppressed,’ where learning and voice are generated by group members’ experiences,” said Frederick Smith, director of the Cross Cultural Centers at Cal State L.A. “It is beautiful, especially when students begin to put voice to their own pain around ways they experience or perpetuate oppression as the colonized or colonizer. This process empowers them to feel like their realities matter, and empowers them to organize to make change on campus and in their communities.”

Coordinated by Smith, this year’s retreat was led by 11 staff facilitators: Frangelo Ayran, Center for Student Involvement; Sean Boileau, Student Health Center; Tawana Briggs, television and film major; Denise Carlos, Cross Cultural Centers; Alexis Gardner, communications studies major; Christopher Johnson, Center for Student Involvement; Donyet King, Housing Services; Rhonda Mitchell, Cross Cultural Centers; Tasneem Noor, Associated Students, Inc.; and Isis Stansberry, Office for Students with Disabilities.

Even with the late-night and overnight structured activities during the holiday weekend, students shared that participating in The Next Step was worthwhile and a life-changing experience.

“At Next Step, you think about things you might not be expecting to think about,” one CSULA student shared in a program evaluation. “Whether or not you’re ready, the journey will change the way you think of yourself and others.”

Briggs, a past student participant who returned this year as a staff facilitator, said, “Last year’s retreat was a wonderful experience. I learned a lot about myself through the different activities they had planned for us and I learned a lot about the other participants and their stories… It made me want to change things about myself for the better and try to make changes in my communities. My experience as a participant made me want to come back as a facilitator, in order that I could get a different experience at Next Step than I did last year and give back to other students so they could have a great experience like I did.”

Gardner, another former participant, said, “The retreat last year was a phenomenally-enlightening experience, which forced me to explore the many identities innate to me and also molded me into being a more effective social-justice advocate. I joined the facilitation team this year in hopes of helping other students along this crucial journey.”

The program recruits staff facilitators in mid-to-late summer each year. Students can apply in the fall for the retreat, which takes place every winter on or near the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. For details, call the Cross Cultural Centers at (323) 343-5001.

Find out more at the following links: