The African American Cultural Recognition Committee at the University of Missouri-Rolla will sponsor or co-sponsor several local events in the coming months to celebrate diversity and promote cultural awareness. All events are open to the public.
- A Martin Luther King Jr. birthday celebration service will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 16, at the Christ Episcopal Church, 10th and Main streets in Rolla. Corneilus Weaver, a native of St. Louis and a senior in architectural engineering at UMR, will be the featured speaker.
Weaver is the national finance chair for the National Society of Black Engineers, the largest student-run organization in the world. He is also a founder and member of the Alpha Omega Theta Christian Fraternity Inc. at UMR, Toastmasters and the Architectural Engineering Institute. Weaver leads a bible study group and is a member of the Prince of Peace Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis.
- The Gospel Medley Series II Concert and Conference begin at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18, in the Havener Center on the UMR campus. The event is designed to unite the various UMR Christian organizations and churches in the areas, to share faith with others in a new way, to mentor area youth, to celebrate and encourage diversity among the Christian faith and to promote UMR to further the general population.
Special guests will include Cross Movement recording artist Flame, Hid in Christ Ministries, Json, Alpha Omega Theta Christian Fraternity Inc. and UMR Voices of Inspiration Gospel Choir. The event is sponsored by the UMR Baptist Student Union, UMR Student Union Board and The Agape’ Full Gospel Christian Center. For more information, contact Daronn Williams at 314-479-9484 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dr. Randy Dudik at 573-341-3043 (email@example.com).
- The Rolla area branch of the NAACP will hold its 18th annual awards banquet at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 27, in the Havener Center on the UMR campus. Rev. Myra Drummond-Lewis of Columbia, Mo., will serve as the featured speaker. The NAACP will award “Yes I Can” scholarships to UMR African American students at the event and a member of the community will be presented with a “Yes I Can” award in recognition of demonstrated courage in the face of adversity.
Tickets may be purchased by calling the Rolla branch of the NAACP at 573-368-4616 or Anastasia Smith, banquet co-chair, at 573-647-9027. Ticket prices, which include food and entertainment, are $30 for adults and $20 for full-time students.
- Christ Episcopal Church in Rolla will host Absalom Jones Sunday services at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 11. The services will celebrate the life and legacy of Absalom Jones, the first African American Episcopal priest. Rev. Susan Bartlett will be the featured speaker. Bartlett is the coordinator of Parents as Teachers (PAT) for the Rolla Public Schools as well as a Missouri state trainer and coordinator for the PAT National Center. In November 2005, she was ordained as a deacon in the Episcopal Church, Diocese of Missouri. For more information, contact Father Michael Hardwick at 573-364-1499 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Alpha Phi Alpha and AACRC will present the first of the three-part video series, Race, the Power of Illusion, from 7-8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21 in the Havener Center on campus. “Episode I: The Difference Between Us” highlights several scientific discoveries that illustrate why humans cannot be divided into races and how there isn’t a single characteristic, trait – or even one gene – that can be used to distinguish all members of one race from all members of another. The event is free to the public.
- The Association of Black Students at UMR will host a Dinner to Jazz concert and banquet at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24, in the Havener Center on campus. This event, held in conjunction with AACRC, has been a tradition at UMR since the 1970’s. For ticket information, email email@example.com. For more information, contact TyLisha Moore at 573-341-4877 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The UMR student chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers and AACRC will hold an annual oratorical contest in conjunction with Dinner to Jazz on Saturday, Feb. 24, on campus. The contest is open to high school students in Missouri and bordering states.
- Student artwork celebrating African-American history and culture will be on display at UMR’s Havener Center during February as part of the annual Lelia Thompson Flagg Art Contest. The theme for this year’s contest is “Appreciating Differences as We Embrace Diversity.”
- The Association of Black Students will host the “ABS Step Show” Friday, March 9, in the Gale Bullman Multipurpose Building on campus. Greek organizations will compete for $2,000. Each step team will have 15 minutes to entertain the audience by stepping and doing skits. The groups will be judged by at least three panelists, who will score the teams on originality, audience participation, precision of the step and more. Dance teams will perform at the beginning and end of the show. For more information email Nickolas McFowland at email@example.com.
- Alpha Phi Alpha and AACRC will present the second of the three-part video series, Race, the Power of Illusion, from 7-8 p.m. Wednesday, March 21 in the Havener Center on campus. “Episode II: The Story We Tell” is an eye-opening tale of how deep social inequities came to be rationalized as natural – deflecting attention from the social practices and public policies that benefited whites at the expense of others. The event is free to the public.
- Alpha Phi Alpha and AACRC will present the final episode of the three-part video series, Race, the Power of Illusion, from 7-8 p.m. Wednesday, April 25 in the Havener Center on campus. “Episode III: The House We Live In” focuses not on individual behaviors and attitudes, but on how our institutions shape and create race, giving different groups vastly unequal life chances. The event is free to the public.
Several other events are also being planned in conjunction with African American Heritage Month. For more information about any of the events, email Naomi McCall, AACRC chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Lawrence C. George, AACRC committee member, by phone at 573-364-4216 or email email@example.com.