CSM Celebrates Black History with Diversity Forum, Concert, Essay Contest

LA PLATA, Md. (Feb. 10, 2008)—The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) is celebrating Black History during February with a month of scheduled events and activities designed to encourage discussion and dialogue.

This year marks the second year for “Unity in OUR Community, A Call to Action: Continuing the Dialogue,” offered by the Charles County Commissioners, College of Southern Maryland, the Blue Ribbon Commission on Diversity and Intergroup Relations, and partnering organizations.

The day will include keynote speaker Ron Walters, director of the African American Leadership Center at the University of Maryland, as well as strategy sessions for community members to discuss ways to achieve unity and build community in Charles County.

The diversity forum will be held 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 16 at the Center for Business and Industry, Room BI-113, on the La Plata Campus, with an inclement weather date of March 8. The forum is free and open to the public. Lunch will be provided. Registration is requested at http://charlescounty.org/unityinourcommunity/ . Call 301-645-0580 or e-mail hillc (at) charlescounty.org for information.

The CSM Black Student Union (BSU) is also sponsoring several events throughout February on the La Plata Campus in the Campus Center to promote thoughtful conversation as well as to celebrate African-American culture.

“Some don’t understand or see the value of celebrating the past, but just as grass needs to be watered often, history needs attention”
“Some don’t understand or see the value of celebrating the past, but just as grass needs to be watered often, history needs attention, and unless we are reminded of our past we will not know where we are going,” said BSU Advisor James Spence.

The discussions include topics such as “Black vs. Black” at noon on Tuesday, Feb. 19, which will analyze the differences, similarities and cultural conflicts between Africans and African-Americans; and “Race, Racism and Relationships,” at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 26 to create dialogue between students of all races, about how they view themselves and others in terms of racial identity and how these views may impact peer and social relationships.

The BSU is also sponsoring a gospel music celebration from 4 -6 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 24, in the Center for Business and Industry, BI-113. The show will feature the King’s Kids and Jr. Gospel Inspirers from Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Va., the St. Mary’s College of Maryland Gospel Choir, and Andre’ Jones of Port Republic, a three-time Amateur Night at the Apollo contest winner.

The college’s diversity and equal opportunity department is inviting tri-county high school juniors and seniors to participate in its black history month essay contest by Feb. 15. The winner of CSM’s Black History Month Essay Contest will receive a $500 performance award toward attendance at CSM and will have the opportunity to read the winning essay at the college’s annual Try College for a Day program on Friday, Feb. 29 at the La Plata Campus. This program allows Charles County high school juniors and seniors to experience college first-hand as they hear a keynote speaker, attend mock classes and tour the campus. For information, contact Robyn Wood, rmwood (at) csmd.edu or 301-934-7659 or 301-870-2309, Ext. 7659.

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