Last updated: July 24. 2013 2:24PM - 154 Views

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Portia Williams

PDT Staff Writer

In conjunction with Black History Month for the month of February, Shawnee State University will host a series of events beginning Friday, Feb. 1.

Carla Daniels, began working at Shawnee State University August of 2012 as Coordinator Student Activities and Cross Cultural Inclusion and is the coordinator of the Black History Month activities.

“I am extremely excited, and really looking forward to all of the wonderful things that we have planned for our students, and for the community to participate in,” Daniels said.

Shawnee State University will celebrate Black History Month with a myriad of events ranging from poetry readings, to MLK Day of Service to guest speakers, a gospel fest, a music and comedy tribute to famous entertainers and a comedy and dance show.

The kick-off will begin with First Friday with “Pass the Mic” at 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 1, which will consist of rappers, comedians, poets, singers and dancers at the Smith Coffee House in the University Center by Jazzman’s.

Pass the Mic is free and open to all students and community members.

Carla Danielssaid planning the Black History Month events for 2013 is her biggest endeavor since she has been in her new position with Shawnee State University.

“On Feb. 2, this day is mostly for the Shawnee State students, because they are going to be doing community service,” Daniels said.

The annual MLK Day of Service begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 2, in the UC 230 Sodexo Ballroom. Students will go out into the community for service and meet back at the University Center later in the day.

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Betty Lovelace-Ross, Associate Provost and Associate Vice Provost for Academic and Student Affairs at Capital University out of Columbus. She will speak at 4 p.m.

On Tuesday, Feb. 5 at 7 p.m. in the Flohr Lecture Hall “Civil Rights, Civil Wrongs: Rethinking Dr. King and the Movement” historian and educator Royce Kinniebrew will take a look at the Civil Rights movement from a different perspective.

The annual AHANA (African, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific and Native American) student organization will present Gospel Fest on Sunday, Feb. 17, at 4 p.m. in the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts.

Daniels said there will be special feature infused into this year’s Gospel Fest.

“We are going to be honoring Matt Matthews for all of his years of dedicated service to the university,” Daniels said.

Matthews is Daniels’ predecessor, who recently retired from Shawnee State University.

Daniels said she has sent out letters to churches and various members within the community requesting their presence and for recognition of Matthews.

The Gospel Fest will include local and regional church choirs, dance and mime ministries. The event is free and open to the public.

On Saturday, Feb. 23, a “Music and Comedy Tribute: When Music was at its Best” take place on the main stage of the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts.

“I really hope that people will come out for the musical tribute, on the 23rd, that is going to be a treat,” Daniels said. “Those people sound exactly like the people that they will be portraying.”

Comedian BLT will host the show with artists paying tribute to Smokey Robinson, Jackie Wilson, Aretha Franklin, Tyrone Davis, Otis Redding, Johnny Taylor and Michael Jackson. If purchased in advance tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students, seniors and children under 12. Tickets are $15 and $7 at the door. Those who wish to purchase tickets may contact the McKinley Box Office at 740-351-3600.

Daniels said she enjoys working in her new position, and in the area which encompasses cultural inclusion.

“Its really about changing perceptions, and getting people to think. Many people, especially this generation, when you say multicultural, think it only refers to Blacks and Latinos. It is more than that, we have Native Americans, Asian Americans and students that are identified as Appalachian, that is a culture,” Daniels said.

Daniels said cross cultural inclusion also encompasses students who commute to the university.

“I also work with commuters as well. This is the largest population here at Shawnee State. I have an opportunity to touch each student here on this campus in some way, shape, form or fashion,” Daniels said.

SSU’s schedule of events will conclude Thursday, Feb. 28, with dancer/comedian Kenneth “Xclusive” Paryo to perform at 8 p.m. in the Sodexo Ballroom.

Paryo was a featured contestant on NBC’s hit reality television show “America’s Got Talent” Season 3.

He has performed as the opening act for singer, Trey Songz at Georgia State University, and now performs at Major League Baseball and NBA games nationally. This show is also free and open to the public.

“I am looking forward to the events, and getting to know the community and seeing how we can benefit from one another,” Daniels said.

Portia Williams may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 286 or portiawilliams@civitasmedia.com

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