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Black History Month Observance Offers Opportunities for Education and Involvement

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Arkansas State University

This year's theme highlights Black activism, past, present, and future.

Welcome to A-State Connections. I am your host Johnathan Reaves. Over the next hour, you will hear interviews and stories about the people of Arkansas State who are making an impact throughout the communities in the region. This show not only focuses on things that are going on at just the Jonesboro campus, but also on the other campuses across the ASU System. More information and today’s features on A-State Connections can be found at kasu.org, go to Shows, and find the A-State Connections drop down link. You can also find show segments on the new KASU app. Just use the search term “KASU app” in the Apple app store or Google Play.

Up First…Black History Month. This year’s observance of Black History Month at Arkansas State University offers a variety of activities and opportunities for education and involvement. All of the activities will be virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I talked with Assistant Director of Multicultural Affairs at the Multicultural Center at Arkansas State University Joshua Smith.

JONESBORO – The 2021 Black History Month observance at Arkansas State University offers a variety of activities and opportunities for education and involvement, although most will be through virtual platforms due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Black History Month (BHM) schedule has been announced by the A-State Multicultural Center.

“The 2021 planning committee, under the leadership of Joshua Smith, has been hard at work to bring a virtual slate of amazing programs and activities that highlight Black activism, past, present, and future,” said Dr. Evette Allen Moore, executive director of inclusive excellence in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. “The month of activities will celebrate the accomplishments of individuals across the Black diaspora and promote critical thinking for individuals to view how they can work toward lasting change for equitable practices. I am excited for the learning and reflection associated with these events.

”Working with the theme, “Black Activism: Then, Now, and the Future,” individuals are invited to participate in a digital poster competition which is already underway. The entry deadline is 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 25.Entries from individuals, groups and organizations will be judged on originality, visual impact, creative skill, and faithfulness to the theme. The winners’ work will be auctioned, with proceeds going to KLEK FM, a local, nonprofit Black business. First, second, and third place winners will receive gift cards for $200, $100 and $50 respectively.

Winners will be announced Monday, Feb. 1, during a virtual Black History Month kick-off video presentation.

Black History Month events scheduled during February include:

-- Online presentation by Dr. Cherisse Jones-Branch, dean of the Graduate School, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 3. Jones-Branch will discuss her upcoming book and Black history.
-- Virtual lunch and learn presentations by LaGanzie Kale, owner of KLEK, on Wednesday, Feb. 10, and LaTasha Moore, owner of Tasha Teaches Spanish, on Wednesday, Feb. 24. Both are 12-1 p.m.
-- A lecture by attorney KenDrell Collins of Little Rock is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11. Collins, a criminal defense attorney and member of Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s Law Enforcement Review Task Force, will discuss the current state of community activism.
-- Roger McKinney will livestream a guided tour of the Jonesboro Black History Museum at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16.
-- The annual Living Legends breakfast, beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, goes online this year as it honors the 2021 Living Legend Award recipients. This award highlights former students, staff, faculty, and other loyal connections to the A-State community. With a focus on Black activism, the event organizers will recognize leadership, advocacy and community support of individuals who have spoken out effectively against oppression, discrimination and inequality.
-- A lecture presentation by State Rep. Jamie Scott of North Little Rock will start at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25. She will discuss the future of activism.

The Multicultural Center is working in partnership with KLEK-FM on several community-oriented BHM activities, including the launch of a website supporting more than 200 Black-owned businesses in Northeast Arkansas; a virtual poetry showcase and auction of African attire and artwork; a community service project to clean KLEK’s mile in the Adopt-a-Highway program; and promoting exercise during health heart month.

KLEK's “Let's Talk About” program will host interviews with business representatives to help enlighten students as well as the community about where to #BuyBlack. This will be carried every Friday of the month on the Multicultural Center’s Instagram live page.

For more details about Black History Month opportunities, one may visit the website, AState.edu/BHM, or contact Multicultural Affairs, Room 3003 of the Reng Student Union, (870) 680-4052 or AStatemc@AState.edu.

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Johnathan Reaves is the News Director for KASU Public Radio. As part of an Air Force Family, he moved to Arkansas from Minot, North Dakota in 1986. He was first bitten by the radio bug after he graduated from Gosnell High School in 1992. While working on his undergraduate degree, he worked at KOSE, a small 1,000 watt AM commercial station in Osceola, Arkansas. Upon graduation from Arkansas State University in 1996 with a degree in Radio-Television Broadcast News, he decided that he wanted to stay in radio news. He moved to Stuttgart, Arkansas and worked for East Arkansas Broadcasters as news director and was there for 16 years.