Annual cultural dinner to encourage diversity

CNN news anchor, Don Lemon, is being welcomed by University Housing to speak at the annual Black History Month Cultural Dinner from 5-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the Brown Ballroom inside the Bone Student Center.

Lemon will be speaking to encourage others to live their lives without fear and overcome obstacles by not allowing anyone to label them based on race, ethnicity or gender.

Lemon came to CNN in 2006 from the NBC affiliate in Chicago.

He is the recipient of several Emmys and in 2009 Ebony placed him on its “Power 150” list of the most influential African Americans.

“We chose Don Lemon because his story of overcoming personal challenges would be inspirational, particularly for students as they are at a critical stage of development as young adults,” Mboka Mwilambwe, assistant director for student development at University Housing, said.

The event will also feature a Cajun menu and music by Rob Juice and his band.

There are still tickets available for the dinner which must be pre-purchased by going to the University Housing website at Tickets will not be sold at the door.

Tickets are one meal swipe for students with meal plans, $15 for students without a meal plan and $18.93 for faculty, staff and community members.

Mwilambwe said the ticket price covers the meal, entertainment and hearing Lemon speak.

“We believe cultural dinners are one of the greatest values in town. We have intentionally kept it affordable because we strongly believe in diversity and think it’s important for  … people to attend,” Mwilambwe said.

Attendees will take away from the dinner that it is OK to be who they are and that they are not defined by the color of their skin, gender or sexual orientation. Attendees will also learn about Louisiana, which is Lemon’s home state through music, traditional food and some facts, he said.

All students and ethnicities are welcome to attend the dinner.

“That is the purpose of these events- — for all of us to learn from one another by participating in conversations,” he said.

Mwilambwe said the expected turn out for the event is around 300 participants.

Mwilambwe added Black History Month is important because it allows us to not only celebrate the achievements of African American individuals, but also sparks conversation about the topic or issue that is of concern to everyone.

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