Events set to celebrate Black History Month

Events encompassing a variety of subjects are planned at Grand Valley in celebration of Black History Month. Topics such as African American culture, education, religion and music will be highlighted through lectures, panel discussions or performances.

All the events listed below are free and open to the public. They will be held on the Allendale Campus and the DeVos Center on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus. For more information, call the Office of Multicultural Affairs at (616) 331-2177, or visit

• February 1, 7 p.m., Cook-DeWitt Center: "One Voice: A Celebration of Black Women in Music." The Soprano Sisters will take the audience on a journey through African American history by performing the music of African American women.

• February 4, 4 p.m., Cook DeWitt Center: "Act on Racism." A Grand Valley student organization will perform skits on the African American experience from slavery to present day.

• February 8, 7 p.m., Kirkhof Center, rooms 2215/2216: "Light Skin vs. Dark Skin." DeMarra Gardner will facilitate a discussion on the notion that light-skinned people of color have more privilege than dark-skinned people of color, and how this has affected the African American community.

• February 11, noon, Kirkhof Center, room 1240: Presentation about Ghana, by Janaan Decker and Linda Rettig. Recipients of the Padnos International Center faculty/staff exchange grant, they will discuss their trip to Ghana.

• February 15, 3 p.m., Kirkhof Center, room 2204: "Black Church, Black Culture." R. L. Stevenson Jr., senior pastor of City Hope, will discuss the Biblical and theological developments of the African American church and the role the church has played in the African American community.

• February 18, 8 p.m., Cook-DeWitt Center: "Celebration of Black Arts." Join is for a journey through black history illustrated by dance, poetry, jazz and choral performances. The performances will feature Marshall "Soulful" Jones from the New York slam team, Words with a Pulse.

• February 19, 7 p.m., Loosemore Auditorium, DeVos Campus: "Afro/American Jazz Funk: A Marriage between the Blues, Rock & Roll." John Hair will discuss the history of the 1-4-5 chord progression, followed by a live jazz performance.

• February 22, 3 p.m., 2215/2216 Kirkhof Center: "Closing the Gap: Health Disparities." Dr. Khan J. Nedd, from Spectrum Health, will share his personal health story and will discuss the health-care disparities between various social and racial communities.

• February 24, 3 p.m., Kirkhof Center, Grand River Room: "One Better World." Vernon Walls, from the American College Personnel Association, will discuss the topics of privilege, identity and social justice and how to become agents of change on campus and in the world.

A number of Grand Valley departments are helping sponsor Black History Month events including College of Education, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Honors College, Housing, Kutsche Office of Local History, Office of Multicultural Afffairs, Padnos International Center, and Pew Campus Student Services.


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