By Joyce Galinski
Black History Month kicks into high gear with free gospel shows, a dating game and a lecture analyzing the racial message of the “Matrix” movies plus an AIDS awareness presentation and essay contest.
A National Black AIDS Awareness presentation will be from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. today in the craft room on the second floor of Loftin Student Center.
The event is sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals, a research-based company that makes pharmaceutical products ranging from consumer health products to prescription drugs and medications.
Dr. Delia Bullock, a local physician who practices internal medicine and treats infectious diseases, will speak from 11 a.m.-noon. Attendees will be served a free lunch afterward.
BEAT AIDS, which stands for Black Effort Against the Threat of AIDS, will conduct free HIV tests from 1 p.m.-3 p.m. in the student health clinic in Room 119 of Chance Academic Center. BEAT AIDS is a nonprofit organization committed to stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS locally.
Tonight a gospel concert in the auditorium of McAllister Fine Arts Center will feature DeWayne Woods and his band from Chicago.
Tyler Archer, assistant coordinator of student leadership/activities for the office of student life, describes him an “up and coming national gospel singer.”
According to his MySpace page, Woods has served as background coordinator for some of today’s biggest talent, such as Celine Dion, and has appeared in stage plays with artists such as Peabo Bryson, Dave Hollister, Morris Day, Dottie Peoples and Cuba Gooding Sr.
Woods is also the spokesperson of a Christian humanitarian relief organization called World Vision: Building a Better World for Children.
The concert is free, but $1 donations will be accepted to raise money for the Black Student Alliance, a student organization at this college.
A second gospel event will be a show featuring NuDestiny from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday in the first-floor area known as Loftin round.
Judi Clark, student life office senior secretary and member of the Black History Planning Committee, said NuDestiny features the talents of Chris Spivey.
Dr. Tani Sanchez, a University of Arizona professor, will return to this college to lecture from 10:50 a.m. -12:05 p.m. Thursday in the auditorium of McAllister.
Political science Professor Wanda Lee Smith said the topic is “Exploring Race Through Science Fiction in the ‘Matrix Trilogy.’”
The lecture will focus on a racial analysis of the “Matrix” movies.
“Dr. Sanchez’s lecture will draw upon politics, literature, history, symbolism, media and art… affirming black ideologies, while maintaining the value of black (people) and other (ethnicities),” Smith said.
Sanchez was a guest lecture during Black History Month in 2007.
Coinciding with Valentine’s Day Thursday is the Dating Game sponsored by the Black Student Alliance.
The game will be from noon-1 p.m. in the round area of Loftin.
Media services Chair Barbara Knotts said the game will consist of six contestants playing two rounds. The signup deadline for contestants was Thursday.
“There is only one winning couple, and each winner will receive a $25 dinner gift card while other contestants will get some candy,” Knotts said.
Winners will not be obligated to take the other person to dinner, she said.
Last year’s game show drew a crowd of about 150, she said.
Two members of the Black Student Alliance will be awarded $450 scholarships for 500-word essays on the topic “How do the youth of today combat negative moral influences?”
Five of the 25 club members submitted essays in the competition, Knotts said.
Another essay competition is open to all full-time students.
The annual Black History Month Essay Competition is sponsored by the Black History Month Committee, the English department and the office of student financial services.
This year $2,500 in scholarships will be awarded. The deadline to enter is 4 p.m. Feb. 26.
For more information about the essay contest, call English Professor Janice Clayton at 733-2512.
For information on other events, call student life at 733-2680.