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Festival honors black history

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Deja Goode
Staff Writer

The Black Student Union and the Multicultural Center teamed up for a day full of music, food, art, and games for the annual Black-Centric Festival on Saturday in Sneaky Park.

This welcoming event brought over 30 family members, friends, students, and faculty together in honor of Black History Month to celebrate and share black culture.

Black History Month is celebrated worldwide, as it is a chance for people from different cultures to get educated on the true nature of black history. BSU made that a priority for this event.

“Our goal was to not only bring out the La Verne community, but also surrounding communities to celebrate Black History Month,” said DaJohn Duplessis, a sophomore sociology major and President of Black Student Union.

Members of BSU wore dashikis, traditional garments worn in West Africa that symbolize African heritage and black pride. The colorful garments have tribal patterns full of colors that represent different African countries. They sparked more opportunities for education on the black community as many people asked about them, making it an inclusive environment for people of the various black cultures.

The festival was filled with the aroma of sweet hickory barbecue. BSU catered soul food including baked macaroni and cheese, barbecue brisket, and chicken wings as Duplessis said that BSU specifically works with black owned businesses to better support their own community.

The members of BSU provided paints of colors from flags of African countries to fit with the theme. Paint easels were set up throughout the event where students showcased their appreciation of the culture through artistic expression.

Zion Grant-Freeman, sophomore psychology major, painted Kenya’s flag on a canvas to highlight where his family came from, touching on another area of black history.

“I love celebrating black history because we don’t usually get to do that,” said Freeman, “I feel like it’s my duty to be here to represent and support African-American culture.”

Juan Regalado, dean of students, said he was happy to connect with BSU while also educating himself. He participated in the painting activity as well by showing his gratitude for black history on a canvas. Regalado’s canvas has a red, green, and black striped background with a large peace sign in the middle of it.

“This event focuses on community and bringing people together, and that’s what the University of La Verne is about,” said Regalado.

Students engaging in the activities so willingly captured the essence of community on the La Verne campus. Several individuals not only painted together but played cornhole and took pictures in the photobooth.

The students attending the event recognized the importance of getting educated on cultures other than their own through conversations with BSU members.

“It’s so important to appreciate other cultures and values,” Jerry Solorzano, a senior business major said, “Having friends who are African-American makes me want to go and learn about their culture so I can connect with them better.”

The Black Student Union encourages everyone to get involved with the movement and holds general meetings on Mondays at 8:30 p.m.

Deja Goode can be reached at deja.goode@laverne.edu.

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