Jan 312008
Authors: Heidi Reitmeier

In honor of Black History Month, the Black Definition Student Organization has planned events and shows to celebrate Black women who affected change and inspired the nation.

Starting today, BDSO will host events that exemplify the importance of Black women in the workplace, law enforcement, the home and in history.

“The BDSO is looking forward to having a celebration about women throughout history in all parts of the community,” said Marcus Elliot, director of BDSO.

Kicking off the celebration are movies and performances that showcase Black women in the roles of single-motherhood, as expressed in the movie “Imitation of Life,” showing at noon today, Room 210 at the Lory Student Center.

The Opening Ceremony for this month’s events will be held on Feb. 6 at noon in the LSC commons.

“It’s a Fort Collins tradition that proclaims February as Black History Month and introduces the theme of this year: Phenomenal Women,” said Dr. Jennifer Molock, director of Black Student Services.

Along with a formal speech by Fort Collins Mayor Doug Hutchinson, Bridgette Black, a sophomore English major, will perform a dramatic reading of the poem “Phenomenal Women.”

On Feb. 5, the role of a female civil rights activist will be examined in the one-woman play “I Question America — the Legacy of Ms. Fannie Lou Hamer,” with actress E.P. McKnight portraying all of the play’s characters in the LSC Theatre at 6 p.m.

Later in the month, the focus will be on the long life of Jane Pittman.

Pittman, born into slavery during the Civil War, died during her tenure as a civil rights activist in the early 1960s. The film based on her life, “Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman,” will be shown Feb. 15 in LSC rooms 203 and 205, from 12-2 p.m.

Four keynote speakers will also contribute to the celebration of phenomenal women by sharing their experiences in law enforcement, business, higher education and sports, Elliot said.

On Feb. 6, from 6 to 9 p.m. in the LSC Theatre, Olympic Gold Medalist Vonetta Flowers will share her experience about being the first African American to earn a gold medal in the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Games.

Dr. Stephanie Evans, assistant professor of African American and Women Studies at the University of Florida, will speak about her book, “Black Women in the Ivory Tower, 1850-1954: An Intellectual History” on Feb. 8 at 1 p.m. in Room 214-216 in the LSC. A discussion panel will immediately follow her speech.

Entrepreneur Marshawn Evans will discuss her experiences in business on Feb. 14 at 6 p.m. in Room 228 of the LSC. Her accomplishments include being the CEO of Communication Counts!, a consulting agency. An accomplished scholar, jumpstarting an inspirational clothing line entitled “JewelME Couture,” Evans is a third runner-up in the 2002 America contest as Miss District of Columbia, a viable contender in the fourth season of NBC’s The Apprentice and a litigator with a top Atlanta law firm.

The last keynote speaker is Commander Tracie Keesee of the Denver Police Department, who will speak on Feb. 14 at noon. in Room 230 of the LSC.

Along with the keynote speakers, Dr. Hope White will be speaking in honor of mothers throughout history on Feb. 9 at 3 p.m. in the North Ballroom in the LSC.

“The speech is to celebrate the accomplishment and love that have been shown by mothers,” Elliot said.

The grand finale will be held Feb. 29 at noon. in the LSC commons, with a closing ceremony that recaps the events of the month as well as the reactions of the people who attended, Molock said.

All of the events are free and are sponsored by the BDSO and Black Student Services. For more information, contact Marcus Elliot or Jennifer Molock at (970) 491-5781.

Staff writer Heidi Reitmeier can be reached at news@collegian.com

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