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Events at West campus celebrate Black History Month

January 30, 2009

A variety of events including theater, visual art, a motivational summit for high school students, and a celebration of an African American pioneer in Arizona are planned during February at Arizona State University’s West campus to commemorate Black History Month.

“While we celebrate Black History Month every year on campus, 2009 takes on a greater meaning with the election of President Obama,” says Duku Anokye, an associate professor in ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. “This year’s theme recognizes our pioneers who made great strides in making the United States a place of opportunity for everyone and inspired young people to continue this effort.”

The theme is “Rosa sat so Martin could march. Martin marched so Barack could run. Barack ran so we can fly!”

The schedule of events is:

Monday, Feb. 2: Opening reception – This event features music and refreshments. Free and open to the public. 4:00 p.m., University Center Building, Delph Courtyard.

Saturday, Feb. 7: Gumbo Challenge – Sign up with your favorite gumbo recipe to compete. Email for more information and to RSVP.

Tuesday, Feb. 10: Initiative and Motivational Summit – African American students from Valley high schools will attend this event hosted by the ASU Black Student Union.

Thursday, Feb. 12: Art Gallery/Theater Performance Opening – Inspired by his recent trip to Italy, ASU artist and faculty member Leandro Soto presents an exhibit of “New Work” that examines America from a European perspective and Europe from an American perspective. Soto’s works feature art materials such as Italian newspapers and recycled canvas and boards. A free opening reception for Soto’s exhibit is at 6:00 p.m. in the Art Gallery on the second floor of the University Center Building.

The art reception will be followed by a performance of “A House With No Walls” at 7:30.  Directed by ASU’s Charles St. Clair, “A House With No Walls” presents two intertwined stories. The first involves the controversial events surrounding the opening of the American Museum of Liberty, while the second is the tale of a slave who decides to escape from her master, President George Washington.

“A House With No Walls” continues Feb. 13-15 and Feb. 19-21 in Second Stage West, lower level of the University Center Building. Curtain is at 7:30 p.m. for all performances except Feb. 15, which is a 3:00 p.m. matinee. Admission is $12 ($7 for students).

Tuesday, Feb. 17: An Evening With Fatimah Halim and Alonzo Jones – Halim and Jones, both well-known inspirational speakers, teach African Americans about their heritage in order to promote positive growth and development. Halim is president and CEO of Life Paradigms, Inc.; Jones is ASU’s associate dean of student affairs, multicultural student services. Each will lead discussion groups with ASU students. Email for more information and to RSVP.

Wednesday, Feb. 25: “August in April: A Tribute” – Attendees will have the chance to see a sneak preview of the soon-to-be-released documentary about the late August Wilson’s ten plays known as the Pittsburgh Cycle. 7:30 p.m., University Center Building, La Sala ballroom.

Saturday, Feb. 28: Pioneer Award Dinner honoring Judge Jean Williams – This evening of culture, food and music pays tribute to Jean Williams, Arizona’s first female African American judge. Williams defended more than a thousand cases arising from Chicago civil rights marches in the 1960s. RSVPs for this 6:00 p.m. event are required at 602-543-5311.

Black History Month events are held on campus at 4701 W. Thunderbird Road in Phoenix. For more information, call 602-543-5306.