Calvin College will gather to celebrate black history month in February with a number of events.
College dean for multicultural affairs Michelle Loyd-Paige says it's important to pause and mark the month for several reasons.
"This college is committed to becoming a genuinely multicultural Christian academic community," she said. "To be such a community is to affirm the worth of all human beings, and to affirm the value and significance of the human cultures and communities that have developed over the centuries . And we are celebrating our history when we celebrate and recognize the contributions of Africans brought to this country as slaves and of African-Americans to this country."
One of the highlights of the month for the campus, said Loyd-Paige, will be a series called "Five Days in the Black World." It will be held February 11-15 and feature a variety of presentations, everything from a documentary on the history of the city of Idlewild, Michigan, to a food tasting to a history of gospel music. Each day's event will be from 6 to 8 pm in the Chapel Undercroft on campus.
Also in February the Multicultural Student Development Office and Student Activities Office will partner on a Spike Lee movie marathon (four movies during the course of the month), while on February 12 the college and Grand Rapids Community College will come together for an event by Oakland-based spoken word artist N'er City (time and location still to be determined).
The next day, February 13, Calvin will host for its professors a 3:30 to 5 pm faculty development workshop called "How to Become an Outstanding Educator of Hispanic and African American Students."
Said Loyd-Paige: "Using an article by Samuel Betances as a starting point, we hope to have a lively and helpful conversation about the challenges and rewards of diversifying our course offerings."
That weekend, February 15-16, the college will host its international student talent and vaiety show called Rangeela. Rangeela (Hindi for "colorful") is put together by a group of students, elected each year by their peers, and assisted by Calvin's International Student Advisor. It consistently sells out two consecutive nights each year in the Fine Arts Center.
Finally on February 20, Calvin presents a benefit concert for Messiah Missionary Baptist Church at 8 pm in the Fine Arts Center by gospel legend Mavis Staples.
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