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Celebrating black history month

To celebrate Black History Month, University Housing will be hosting a cultural dinner with award-winning CNN anchor Don Lemon.  He will be at Illinois State at 5 p.m. tonight in the Brown Ballroom of the Bone Student Center (BSC).

According to IllinoisState.edu, Lemon’s goal for the dinner is “to encourage others to live their lives without fear and overcome obstacles by not allowing anyone to put them in a box based on race, ethnicity or gender.”

Lemon is the anchor for “CNN Newsroom” during weekend primetime, and also serves as a correspondent.  He joined CNN in 2006, but had been a news veteran of Chicago.  He reported from Chicago during the 2008 presidential election, which included an interview with then-Rep. Rahm Emanuel the same day he accepted his position of chief of staff for President-elect Barack Obama.

Last night, another event happened at ISU in honor of Black History Month:  President of Chicago Teachers Union Karen Lewis gave a talk titled “Defending Public Education:  How Parents, Students, Educators and Communities Can Change the Stakes” in the Brown Ballroom of the BSC.

She is known to be outspoken toward changes in the Chicago Public School system, and supports communities coming together to change the face of public education.

Lewis has been seen at the Chicago’s teacher’s strike in 2012, and is known for expressing her opinions on poverty, racism and inequality in public education.

ISU does provide events specifically for Black History Month; however, there is a club that celebrates black history all year round.  African Students Association (ASA) meets to integrate ISU students into the black community and to educate the public about African cultures.  Sophomore and treasurer of ASA Mark Hodges explained a bit more of what goes on during their meetings.

“At our last meeting, we talked about many things including heritage and ancestry.  This month we also teamed up with Colors, a new organization on campus, to sell candy for Valentine’s Day.  We also teamed up with Colors again and other organizations at the end of the month to have a reggae/90s party at the Bone,” Hodges said.

Black History Month is important to celebrate so we can appreciate those who have done a great amount to help make a difference for our country.  Let’s acknowledge inventor George Washington Carver, activists Rosa Parks, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., athletes Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays, entertainers Oprah Winfrey and Bessie Smith, writer Maya Angelou and so many more.  All these people have had a significant influence toward the black community as well as our entire nation and have changed the views of all the people that doubted them in the beginning.

We must realize, though, that we should not just honor these people for only one month.  All year round we must recognize the major role they have played in getting our country to where it is today by fighting to reach the goal of equality and acceptance for all.  Since there are still people who do not approve of an equal nation, we must be persistent and not give up hope that someday we will all be on the same page of appreciating and accepting all cultures.

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