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Rio Celebrates Black Excellence

Members+of+the+Rio+Hondo+staff%2C+Black+Student+Union+members+and+guest+speakers+pose+after+the+Black+Excellence+event+speeches.
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Rio Celebrates Black Excellence

Members of the Rio Hondo staff, Black Student Union members and guest speakers pose after the Black Excellence event speeches.

Members of the Rio Hondo staff, Black Student Union members and guest speakers pose after the Black Excellence event speeches.

Noah Garcia/El Paisano News

Members of the Rio Hondo staff, Black Student Union members and guest speakers pose after the Black Excellence event speeches.

Noah Garcia/El Paisano News

Noah Garcia/El Paisano News

Members of the Rio Hondo staff, Black Student Union members and guest speakers pose after the Black Excellence event speeches.

Ramon Alvarado, Editor-in-Chief

Rio Hondo’s Black Student Union held a Black Excellence event at the school’s lower quad, Wednesday, Feb. 28. There were painting booths, spoken-word artists and guest speakers present to celebrate Black history.

“Just to show culture for Black History Month, today’s the last day of Black History Month,” Black Student Union President and co-founder, Keira Presly explained prior to the event, “but Black history’s not just a month, it’s everyday. So, that’s why we decided to go ahead and have it at the end of the traditional month.”

Vice President of BSU, Autumn Lewis hit the stage set in the lower quad first to introduce the first guest speaker. The Black Excellence event got off to a fiery start with the strong-spoken Trimaine Davis, who serves as the Coordinator of the African American Resource Center at Cal State Fullerton.

“I know a lot of you may look and say ‘well Black History Month became Black History Month in 1976,’” Davis said, “but you got to remember it was 50+ years where it was National Negro History Week. So, today we are honoring 92 years of black excellence. It’s always a phenomenal thing to celebrate Black history because this month is our chance to be unapologetic about explaining the truth and not necessarily going into what is the societal norm or the stereotypes that are fed about Black images and black people.”

Davis had the crowd of all colors tuned into his every word as he shared his knowledge with Rio staff, students and visitors. He ended his speech by challenging those listening to him speak.

“For those of us who believe that BHM is something that we cherish, that we honor in February because February is the shortest month of the year, I’m going to challenge you to dig deeper,” Davis said as he scanned through the crowd. “It’s great to have [events] like this… Often times what happens, is once this event is over, so is our celebration, so is our wanting to learn more about the customs and the cultures that we just got celebrating. So, my challenge to all of you here is to keep that going, keep that moving forward, because as long as we’re open-minded and we keep a lens for Black history, we’ll understand humanity more. And as we understand humanity, the more equipped we’ll be to solve problems in society.”

Spoken-word artist and poet LaSpeaksVolumes, who just received her Master’s degree in education at the University of Southern California last year was also present at the Black Excellence event. She started off her speech by telling the crowd to be themselves and to not let others’ tell their stories for them.

LaSpeksVolumes moved the crowd much like Davis did, but LaSpeaksVolume did it with more rhythm as she passionately read her poem, Black Women’s Fight.

“Pretty brown girl/ Why you frown girl?/ Is it that everybody tryna put you down girl/You don’t ever let em take away your crown girl,” LaSpeaksVolumes rhymed as she focused on the young black women in the crowd. It wasn’t just the young black women feeling LaSpeaksVolumes words, though. She was being cheered on by everyone there for her motivating words and witty word-delivery.

“Baby girl you better than that/Baby girl stand tall where you at/ and if they try to give you hell, you just give it right back.”

It was a successful Black Excellence event for the relatively new Black Student Union at Rio Hondo. The Vice President of BSU, Lewis spoke on the outcome of the event.

“It was awesome, I loved the speakers,” Lewis joyfully said. “I was so impressed by how a lot of people stopped by and that’s what made me even happier. That’s what I wanted, people to listen! This event had a lot of people participate who needed to be heard. The black population on campus is so small and under-represented, this event showed that we here!”

The Black Student Union club was just started up last fall, but with strong club leadership they will surely continue to make an impact on the Rio campus.

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