The celebrations for Black History Month 2019 began with the Taste of Soul event in the Student Activities Center on Thursday, Feb. 14 at noon.
An eager crowd lined up in the main hallway of the building where various foods were being unwrapped from aluminum pans and spread across two long tables.
Taste of Soul is an annual event held at El Camino College where students and faculty are welcome to grab a plate and eat a variety of soul food. The food was free and there was no charge for admission.
Among the foods offered this year were fried fish, fried chicken, yams, collard greens, cabbage, and cornbread.
As the smell of soul food swept through the building, people were encouraged to take their plates and eat in the East Lounge, where at 1 p.m. a read-in would begin.
The African-American Read-In invited students, faculty and staff to share their favorite pieces written by African-American authors. In total, there were 11 speakers.
Auree Edmundson, 20, an ethnic studies major specializing in African-American studies, was one of three students who presented their own pieces at the read-in.
“That’s a personal story of mine about my father being incarcerated, and so [the poem] was kinda inspired by that,” Edmundson said.
Edmundson named her poem “Behind These 4 Walls”.
“I did the poem last year at a Black Student Union event, it was called Express Yourself and it was a talent show,” Edmundson said. “Some people were like ‘you should do it at this event too.’ so, you know, I just had to do it again.”
Clarence C. Davis IV, 33, communication studies major, helps organize all the activities ran by the Black History Month Committee, including this year’s read-in. Davis believes that it is vital these on-campus events should happen.
“These types of cultural events themselves, not just Black History Month, bring something to the campus that exists that has no way to express itself,” Davis said.
His efforts will culminate with the talent showcase Express Yourself on Feb. 28.
The planning and preparation of Taste of Soul and the African-American Read-In did not go unnoticed. Edmundson, specifically, valued the efforts of everyone involved.
“I really appreciate the fact that we have these events on campus,” said Edmundson. “I came because I wanted to show up. I’m an African-American woman and I wanted to come represent for my people and to just see what else is going on.”
Armanti Weeks, 21, English major, was one of many in the packed East Lounge and said there was a lot to miss out on by not being there.
Weeks said that people who do not attend events like this are missing out on good poetry, music and food. “You know also, you missing a piece of black history.”
The celebration of Black History Month continues with the Black Student Union Movie Night on Feb. 19. The Black Excellence Dinner takes place on Feb. 21, and the Express Yourself event on Feb. 28 will round out the festivities.
All the events are free to attend.
Taste of Soul was sponsored by the Black History Month Planning Committee, Black Student Union, Student Equity Program, Office of Staff and Student Diversity, Student Equity and Advisory Council, and the Student Development Office.
Update: Feb. 18, 2019 1:53 p.m a featured image and photo caption were added for accuracy. Photo captions were edited for accuracy. An additional photo was added.
Update: Feb. 19, 2019 9:03 a.m. the feature image was changed.