Bust of Martin Luther King Jr. on the Chapman University campus.
The bust of Martin Luther King Jr. at Chapman University commemorates King's 1961 visit and lecture at Chapman.

A Celebration of Black History Month at Chapman

February marks the start of Black History Month, and Chapman University’s Cross-Cultural Center is celebrating with programming that encourages attendees to listen, learn and honor the dynamic contributions of African-Americans.

From a screening of “Dear White People,” created by alumnus Justin Simien ’05, to a student talent showcase, each event seeks to highlight black student excellence and foster a culture of belonging and inclusiveness. 

For Matt Owens ’20, the lead Cross-Cultural Center assistant, that’s precisely the kind of environment the Cross-Cultural Center offers him.

“You come up here to the third floor and there’s all kinds of support within the Cross-Cultural Center and all of student engagement. There’s a lot of resources and staff and faculty here that actively work to see Chapman through a different perspective. And that’s a big reason I always found myself here even before I started working for the Cross Cultural Center. I always found myself here. It’s a good space to be,” Owens says.

Such sentiments are echoed in this year’s Black History Month programming. Owens was charged with the task of curating this year’s activities. His hope is twofold: to celebrate the journeys, past and ongoing, of black Chapman University students and to provide welcoming contexts for fellowship to be shared, voices to be heard and dialogue to be had.

All Allies are Welcome  

Black history, in all its forms, neither begins nor ends in February. However, the following events are great occasions to come together as a campus and celebrate the rich history of African-Americans at Chapman University and beyond.

Black History Month Kickoff

Argyros Forum Student Union – On Wednesday, Feb. 5,  from 5 – 6:45 p.m. the Cross-Cultural Center will kickoff with an event highlighting black artists at Chapman University, featuring visual and performance pieces from Brooke Harmon, Sofia Montgomery, Chris Fields, Erica Marfo, Ramya Sinha, and Lucile Henderson. There will be refreshments, music, and a short introduction from Justin Riley, associate director, Student Community Support and Development.

Black Student/Staff Faculty & Mixer

Cross-Cultural Center Lounge – On Monday, Feb. 10, from 5 – 6:15 p.m. the Cross-Cultural center will host an informal hangout meant to connect black faculty, staff and students at Chapman. Marvin Owens, senior director of the NAACP Economic Department, will be the keynote speaker for the evening. The event is open to any and all allies who are interested in attending. Light refreshments will be served.

Screening of “Dear White People”

Cross-Cultural Center Lounge– On Wednesday, Feb. 19, from 7 – 10 p.m. the Cross-Cultural Center will host a movie screening of the film “Dear White People.” There will be free popcorn and refreshments.

BSU Presents: Black Excellence Talent Showcase

Memorial Hall – On Thursday, Feb. 20,  at 8 – 10 p.m. the Black Student Union will host a showcase where black students on campus can share their variety of talents with the Chapman community. Other talented black individuals from around the area will be performing as well. Tickets are $5. Students can purchase them online or at the door.