Black History Month Event Includes Former Black Panther, Dance Performance

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Legacy students Moriah Pleasant, Lynn Ha, Tyler Anderson, Mariah Galbreath, and Anthony Lawson proudly stand next to their Black History Month display in the foyer of the Library/Learning Resource Center.

Former Black Panther Party Captain Aaron Dixon will address the Cypress College community on Thursday, February 19, 2015 as part of the campus recognition of Black History Month.

Dixon was only 19 years old when he joined the organization and founded its Seattle chapter. The author of  “My People Are Rising: Memoir of a Black Panther Party Captain” will address the campus on the importance of youth activism and diversity in people, agendas, and organizations.

Dixon will reflect on his own evolution from a young activist marching with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to end housing discrimination in Seattle, Washington, to the college student who joined one of the most controversial organizations on the American political landscape, to the author and speaker he is today, with a vision to inspire youth.

Dixon spends a great deal of time on college campuses and with community organizations to encourage young people to become active in their communities. He even dedicates time speaking to elementary and middle school children. Dixon says he is particularly interested in community college students because he understands many of the harsh realities that affect their college experience.

Dixon will spend the day on the Cypress College campus, first in a mid morning chat with students, then as the Black History Month speaker at 3 p.m. in Humanities 131.

Dixon’s visit is made possible by generous funding from the Cypress College Diversity Committee.

This year, the students in the Legacy English 100 class will join Maha Afra of the Dance Department to host Black History Month activities for the Cypress College community.

The students, who call themselves Legacy 100, will host a chat with Aaron Dixon during their class time on the morning of February 19. Their hosting duties will continue as they participate in the afternoon program and present Dixon to the campus as this year’s Black History Month speaker.

The students began taking an active part in campus and community activities last semester when, under the direction of Counselor Renee Ssensalo, they hosted the campus Kwanzaa celebration.

Legacy 100 will conclude Black History Month activities on a cultural note with an Open Mic and Listening Party on Tuesday, February 24. On Wednesday, February 25 in the Gym II Foyer, Maha Afra and the Dance Department will sponsor A Black History Month Celebration Through Dance to conclude the month long tribute. All events are free and open to the public.

Legacy 100 also designed and installed the Black History Month display in the foyer of the Library/Learning Resource Center on campus. Their theme this year is “Today’s Influences.” They focus on the scientists, physicians, celebrities, athletes, and community organizers who are active in making today’s black history.

The Legacy 100 Black History Month activities have been made possibly by generous funding from the Cypress College Diversity Committee and from the Legacy Program under the direction of Eldon Young, Dean of the Language Arts Division.

Aaron Dixon
Aaron Dixon