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Cultural Center celebrates black history

–lsapp@my.apsu.edu

In honor of Black History Month, the African-American Cultural Center has various events planned for February. On Tuesday, Feb. 5, Reginald Weaver, former president of Education International and president of the National Education Association, gave an inspirational talk to students and faculty about improving quality education for all youth.

He began with comical trivia in the form of a test. Weaver defied the silence in educational progress by stating, “The diversity and race issue, no one wants to talk about … but we have to talk about it.”

Weaver seemed to engage the audience while discussing all angles of a teacher’s gift. In answer to the question too often asked, “What do you make?” Weaver retorted, “You make a difference: that is what you make.” In response to creating success in children, Weaver suggested, “Don’t let a stupid rule affect a child’s life.”

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He gave many of his own accounts of how he has influenced children by “building caring relationships.” Weaver also focused on the importance of building a collaborative relationship with parents and others outside of school. He gave examples of the bonds he has formed all across the spectrum of education and home-based issues.

Weaver supported the progress that APSU has made in supporting diversity. “You’re winners, but what you think is more important than what I think,” Weaver said. In his closing remarks, he quoted Martin Luther King, Jr., “Our lives will end the day we become silent.”

On Thursday, Feb. 7, the cultural center’s National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day programming started at 11 a.m. Free HIV testing was provided by Nashville Cares for all students at the Cultural Center.

“We did well last year, but we always do when we come here,” said Gay Men’s Program Manager Dwayne Jenkins. Jenkins also said representatives from Vanderbilt would be there later in the day to recruit HIV vaccine trials for the students. The Cultural Center provided numbers and statistics which pertain to HIV and AIDS with informative flyers.

Blacks and Latinos make up 61 percent of new HIV infections, but only 34 percent of participants in HIV vaccine trials are black or Latino. The program offered guests literature to become more educated about HIV/AIDS infection in middle Tennessee, the United States and worldwide. An evening speaker presented a documentary on “Breaking the Silence.”

On Tuesday, Feb. 12, Dwonna Goldstone of the African-American Studies department spoke about “The Qualities of a Good Man/Good Woman” from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. On Tuesday, Feb. 19, a Black History Month Bowl trivia competition sponsored by Housing and Residential Life will meet in the Clement Auditorium from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Other events include lunch and conversation with Shunda Brown, assistant professor of psychology, and a Peay Soup spoken word event with Nashville organization Southern Word. The Cultural Center has made a point to bring in highly accomplished people to share their knowledge and experience throughout the month.

All of February’s events sponsor truth-seeking knowledge within the scope of Black History Month. For exact times and places of these events, contact the African-American Cultural Center at aacc@apsu.edu, or in Clement Building, room 201.

About Linda Sapp, Staff Writer

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