Black History Month at CSU features national speaker on race and disability

Wesley Hamilton, a philanthropist, speaker, athlete and model, is the keynote speaker for Black History Month at CSU.

Colorado State University’s Black/African American Cultural Center and campus partners are hosting a variety of events in February for Black History Month, including a keynote presentation on race and disability from a nationally recognized speaker.

Wesley Hamilton, a philanthropist, speaker, athlete and model, headlines festivities with a virtual keynote presentation on Feb. 17 at 6 p.m. He will be sharing his story on how he transformed his life from victim to victor after surviving multiple gunshot wounds that left him paralyzed from the waist down.

Hamilton appeared on Season 4 of Netflix’s Queer Eye in which he met face to face with the shooter who paralyzed him.

“I am grateful for the life I was given,” Hamilton said of the experience on his website. “It has opened up doors that would’ve remained closed if not for being shot. I now have the ability to empower the youth coming from my boyhood community, showing them that opportunities come to whoever creates them and showing them how to be more than their circumstances.”

The talk is presented in partnership with B/AACC, RamEvents and the Student Disability Center.

Learn more

 The month-long festivities include more than a dozen events and activities designed to educate, enlighten and celebrate Black culture at CSU. More information and Zoom access on all events is available at baacc.colostate.edu.

Black History Month events

Black History Month at CSU starts on Friday, Jan. 29, at 4 p.m. with a kickoff celebration on Zoom.

According to Adrian Jones, B/AACC student development and retention coordinator, the celebration will include songs such as “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” often referred to as the Black national anthem, as well as living statues honoring famous African Americans.

For the celebration’s living statues portion, students will dress up as historical and contemporary figures and share spoken words about the person, Jones said.

B/AACC is also hosting a “Real Talk” series on Tuesdays in February. The student dialogues will focus on love, activism and collaboration as a way to better the community.

On Thursdays, there will be “Being Black &” talks spotlighting intersectional identities, “looking at Blackness as not monolithic, but looking at the differences and the variety within Blackness,” Jones said. The talks examine identities involving education, young adulthood and African heritage.

As in previous years, the Aspen Grille is hosting a Soul Food Takeover, featuring pulled-chicken or fried catfish sandwich entrées with sides and dessert. The dishes are available on Feb. 11-12. Call (970) 491-7006 for take-out and dine-in options.

With more than a dozen slated events, Jones hopes the university community gets a better understanding of folx culture and its inclusivity of marginalized groups that hopefully leads to personal betterment, allyship and kinship.

“My hope is that folx walk away wanting more,” Jones said, “walking away saying, ‘I want to know more. I want to do more. I want to be better.”

Black History Month events poster

This year’s poster features a portion of the title of Alice Walker’s 1983 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For: Inner Light in a Time of Darkness.

Jones explained the theme was chosen by Black Definition, an organization composed of B/AACC-supported student organization leaders working to spread knowledge of African American culture across campus.

“Because of the climate with the pandemic and with attacks on Black and Brown lives, it’s this notion of breaking free and saying, ‘We are the ones who are waiting for the change to be done,’” Jones said. “‘Even if it’s not in our lifetime, it will be started now.’”

The latest event information is available at baacc.colostate.edu.