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Berks celebrates Black History Month

Black History month details
King's Dream

In honor of Black History Month, the Penn State Berks will hold several events in February 2014.

Saturday, Feb. 1, 7:00 p.m., Perkins Student Center Auditorium

Blood at the Root is a bold new play by rising star Dominique Morisseau (Detroit ’67, Sunset Baby) and directed by Steve Broadnax, the head of Penn State’s Graduate Acting program at University Park. The company will perform at campuses throughout the Penn State system this spring, followed by an international tour in the summer. The work, commissioned by the School of Theatre, is inspired by the “Jena Six,” a group of young black men in Jena, Louisiana, who were charged with attempted murder after assaulting a white student at their high school in 2007. Previous assaults on black students had gone largely unpunished, and the conviction and sentencing of the Jena Six serve as a strong reminder of racial injustice in the United States. “Blood at the Root” follows six high school students at fictional Cedar High as they learn to look past their own experiences in order to see things from a different perspective. More information about “Blood at the Root” can be found at www.berks.psu.edu, as well as their facebook page: facebook.com/BloodAtTheRoot.

Wednesday, Feb. 5, 8 p.m., Perkins Student Center Auditorium

King’s Dream is a rousing celebration of diversity, unity, and peace. This event is free and open to the public. Powerful images, thought-provoking commentary, and captivating archival film footage tell the story of the American civil rights movement through performance and multimedia presentation. Relive the most memorable events in Dr. King’s life, and the historic contributions of Rosa Parks, the Arkansas Nine, the Freedom Fighters, and those who risked it all for social justice and equal rights. Archival film chronicles John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson’s courageous attempts to change social norms, while struggling with the complexity of the Vietnam War and other global issues during the 1960s. This presentation is part of the Arts and Lecture series. For more information, contact the Office of Campus Life at 610-396-6076.

Wednesday, Feb. 19, 7 p.m., Room 3, Perkins Student Center

The movie 42 about the life of Jackie Robinson will be presented by the Multicultural Office, followed by a discussion led by Karen Kihurani, Multicultural / International Counselor. This event is for students, faculty and staff. In 1946, Jackie Robinson is a Negro League baseball player who never takes racism lying down. Branch Rickey is a Major League team executive with a bold idea. To that end, Rickey recruits Robinson to break the unspoken color line as the first modern African American major league player. As both anticipate, this proves a major challenge for Robinson and his family as they endure unrelenting racist hostility on and off the field, from player and fan alike. As Jackie struggles against his nature to endure such abuse without complaint, he finds allies and hope where he least expects it.

Thursday, Feb. 20, 6 p.m., Room 121, Gaige Technology and Business Innovation Building

As part of the Global Studies degree program's "Global Oscar Comes to Berks," Penn State Berks will present War Witch. This event is free and open to the public. A 2012 Canadian drama, War Witch tells the story of a 12-year-old girl named Komona, who was abducted during a civil war in sub-Saharan Africa to become a child soldier. Komona is given a choice between watching her parents die a painful death at the hands of her captors or shooting them herself. With tears in her eyes, she chooses the latter. She is then taken up river, along with her other captors, to begin training. Facing beatings and near-starvation, Komona’s one salvation is her imagination. Her captors believe her to have magical powers after she ingests a hallucinogen found in sap and has visions that foretell of impending danger to their army. Her supernatural gifts earn her the title of “war witch.”

Wednesday, Feb. 26, 1 p.m., Perkins Student Center Multipurpose Room

The Multicultural Office will sponsor a program titled “Have Hope” for students, faculty, and staff of the college. Veleashia Smith, Director of the Institute of Black Culture in Gainesville, FL will give a presentation on empowerment, etiquette, and dress.

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