The Black History Month celebration was kicked off Jan. 29 in Creveling Lounge with a celebration of African-American heritage. The event featured speakers from the PCC community, a raffle, and a musical performance from the upcoming “Hairspray” production.

The event began with a performance of the Negro National Anthem: Lift Every Voice and Sing, sung by Sandra Collins.

President Mark Rocha and Senior Vice President Robert Bell then addressed the crowd on the significance of Black History Month.

“I was sitting with my 80-year old mother [watching the inauguration] and she [burst] into tears. This nation has come a long way. February is when we identify specifically the contributions of African Americans, but we should do that all year,” said Bell.

Rocha commented on the good job the organizers did putting it together and the educational opportunities it brought.

“I think the program staff and students have put together is amazing. The good thing about Black History month is that it’s a good educational opportunity,” said Rocha.

Aaron Nininger, fine arts was glad to see community leaders at the event interfacing with students.

“I think it’s really great to see community leaders come out. I don’t think there’s enough interaction between students and community leaders. There’s so much we can learn from them and we don’t interface enough with them,” said Nininger.

About the performance from the musical Hairspray, Richard Kuller, performing arts instructor and director of the production, explained its relevance to the event.

“How does Hairspray tie into black history month? It takes place in the 1960s. Hairspray is a valentine to all outsiders,” said Kuller.

After the performance a raffle was conducted in which the winners received copies of Connie Rice’s book Power Concedes Nothing.

Kelsea Gustin, business, was impressed by the event and the other Black History month events that will take place throughout February.

“[It was a] really nice program and well put together. I am glad to find out about all the events happening for black history month,” said Gustin.

Also included was a screening of Susanne Rostock’s documentary Sing Your Song, which documents Harry Belafonte’s contributions toward social justice and civil rights. After the screening there was a round-table discussion on social issues affecting youth.

Ryan Taylor, film, liked the importance focused on Black History month and the racial diversity in the audience.

“Its important to celebrate black history because typically at schools they don’t [do] it as much and I think its great PCC was able to celebrate it. Also [it’s good] to be able to see not just blacks in here but a diverse crowd,” said Taylor.

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