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The Black Cultural Resource Center was busy by proxy on Feb. 7, with two of the programs it houses, A2Mend and the Black Student Union, coordinating and sponsoring two events in recognition of Black History Month. 

A2Mend, a student charter program established to support and assist in the personal and academic success of Black men and other men of color, is one of five programs and services that the BCRC (room 1726) accommodates. 

A scene from the second event on the seventh, an open mic hosted by the BSU: Professor Erick O. Bell sang Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come.” His rendition was first-rate, based on the audience’s reaction to the performance. 

Cooke was a virtuosic singer, songwriter, composer and entrepreneur whose songs have influenced the work of pop and soul artists for decades. At the peak of his fame in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, Cooke’s popularity was prodigious. 

Cooke wrote “A Change Is Gonna Come” in 1963, the same year as the March on Washington. The song, recorded in 1964 just months before his premature, enigmatic death, was among the most significant of the Civil Rights era. Cooke is, as he is affectionately called, the “King of Soul.”

Spoken word poetry, Erykah Badu and John Legend covers, masterful piano playing, and original songs followed Bell’s performance. It was a full house. 

The day’s earlier event, a soul-food buffet, was likewise successful. 

“It’s everything to see the students out there in line to have a ‘Taste of Soul,’ and for students (of other ethnicities) to be excited about it,” said ConnectUp program director, Kimberly Burks, “to honor the contributions that Black Americans have made here.” 

Kenneth Cooper, Executive Director of the LPC Foundation, attended Taste of Soul too. A2Mend provided “delicious” (to quote Cooper), free food in the quad – to much gratitude.

“The LPC Foundation supports a wide number of activities and events across campus,” Cooper said. “We’re happy to be able to support events like this.”

Along with to A2Mend and the BSU, the Black Cultural Resource Center houses 

ConnectUp, an academic support program for first-year Black students, Sista 2 Sista, a forum dedicated to the dialogue and empowerment of Black female students and other women of color, and Umoja, a learning community concentrated on fast-track Student Educational Plans. 

“It feels great to share our culture,” Kimberly Burks added, “To have a place on campus, a safe space for our students, is important for the success and retention of Black American students, and Black students in general.” 

More events are scheduled this month. For more information, visit the BCRC.

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