Feb 222012
Authors: Kate Simmons

While Malcolm X, a revolutionary civil rights leader, was assassinated in 1965, his message lives on through his daughter, Ilysah Shabazz.

Shabazz will be speaking Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Lory Student Center Main Ballroom as part of the Black History Month Lecture Series.

“It’s not every day you get the opportunity to hear somebody like that,” said Mary Ontiveros, the vice president for diversity at CSU.

Throughout the month of February, CSU has joined the national observance of Black History Month with a variety of speakers, each sharing their own personal struggles with adversity and their fight for equality.

Ontiveros said Shabazz will provide a unique perspective, “Given who she is and the fact that she has had some very, very personal experiences, I think she will give a wide perspective that you might be able to read about in a book, but she will bring to life.”

President of Black Definition Danielle McConnell agreed that seeing Shabazz speak is a unique opportunity.

“I hope that she’ll be able to bring a perspective about the motivations of her father and how those spin into where black culture currently stands,” McConnell said.

McConnell added that she hopes Shabazz will give some insight about black culture and history.

Ontiveros said that Shabazz will provide a sense of perspective and a sense of history.

“I think all too often people lose sight of what the challenges have been,” Ontiveros said. “Today’s world is very different in many ways than what was happening back then; on the other hand there are lots of similarities and I think she can help to pull those two periods in time together.”

Mattie Walker, a member of Diversity and Social Justice Programs, is excited to hear Shabazz speak.

Walker looks forward to hearing about, “awareness of the African American struggles in the United States, what it was like for (Shabazz) growing up as Malcolm X’s daughter, and to learn what struggles she had to face being African American in the Civil Rights Movement.”

Walker added that Shabazz will be an inspiration for those who hear the speech.

“If their experience is personal as opposed to something they’ve learned about or read about it gives you a real different view on what’s going on,” Ontiveros said. “The fact that she was very personally and intimately involved through her father I think she is going to be able to provide perspective that, I’m expecting, will be very powerful.”

As a faculty member involved in promoting and advertising many of the speakers who have come to CSU, Ontiveros hopes more students will take advantage of the speakers and opportunities that students have on campus.

“All too often, they’re overlooked for whatever reason either because they didn’t read the Collegian that particular day or because maybe they didn’t notice a particular poster and I would just hope that students would take advantage of the opportunity they have,” Ontiveros said.

Collegian writer Kate Simmons can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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