People of all races and backgrounds will raise their glasses at tonightâ€™s Loving Day Dinner. The dinner commemorates the 1967 Supreme Court case Loving vs. Virginia that allowed interracial couples to legally marry.
The event is the finale of the 2nd annual Mixed Race Week hosted by Shades of CSU, a group that promotes education and support for people of mixed ethnicities.
Black/African American Cultural Center president Bruce Smith will speak at the dinner about the struggles he and his wife, who is white, have had to face.
Tonightâ€™s dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the University Village Apartments Center on 1600 W. Plum St.
â€œIt kind of mimics a wedding reception in a way because itâ€™s supposed to honor the couples,â€ said Shades adviser and founder Kate Wormus.
Mixed Race Week kicked off Monday with a meet-and-greet in the Lory Student Center where students of mixed races were given the chance to mingle and share their experiences.
Attendants participated in an activity where they formed groups according to different colored stick-it notes to represent real-life situations.
â€œOften groups are separated or siloed based upon their racial identities and experiences,â€ said Wormus, who is of mixed race.
CSU has four cultural centers on campus. Students of all backgrounds are welcome, officers said, but some students said they felt left out.
â€œI was forced to either hang out in the Black Student Services or not hang out at all,â€ said Shades co-founder and CSU graduate Shelby Chase, who comes from a bi-racial family.
The centers hope to change this opinion.
â€œI completely understand how it could be an enormous challenge for those students who have multiple identities to enter one of the cultural/resource centers, but I believe weâ€™re doing a pretty good job of creating a welcoming environment for all students,â€ said Assistant Vice President of the Black/African American Cultural Center Marcus Elliott.
The founders of Shades hope to turn Mixed Race Week into a regular event as it gains more attention.
â€œHopefully people are leaving our MRW events with more room for diversity in their hearts and a desire to learn and partake in more but at the very least, I know they met some really awesome people because that is what we are,â€ Shades President Alyssa Dawson said.
Staff writer Rachel Childs can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.