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Black leadership, culture to be focus of Black History Month events

STANFORD -- Walter Turnbull, director and founder of the Boys Club of Harlem, will kick off Black History Month activities at Stanford University by speaking on the challenges facing black youth and the importance of investing in youth at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 3, in Kresge Auditorium. Stanford's Talisman a capella group also will perform at the event.

Turnbull is known for his dynamic and inspirational leadership of the Harlem Boys Club with a goal of preparing future leaders. The theme of this year's student-organized Black Liberation Month programming on campus is "Black Leadership in the Year 2000."

Other events that are free and open to the public include:

  • A "Gospel Extravaganza" featuring five Bay Area choirs at 8 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 19, in Dinkelspiel Auditorium.
  • A performance by the ASE Drumming Circle, a 10-member women's drumming and percussion group that focuses on the history and culture of the music from the African Diaspora, at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22, in Kresge Auditorium.

The gospel extravaganza, which is intended as a spiritual celebration, has drawn standing-room-only crowds in past years. This year's event features soloist Vanessa Stephens of the Cosmopolitan Baptist Church in Oakland, the Stanford Gospel Choir, the St. John Baptist Church Inspirational Choir of East Palo Alto, the New Sweet Home Church of God in Christ Choir of East Palo Alto, the Jubilee Christian Center Choir from San Jose and the Love Center Choir from Oakland. Sheila Robinson of radio station KSOL will emcee.

The ASE Drumming Circle (pronounced ah-shay) of New York City celebrates the diversity of African cultural expression through rich vocal blends, colorful songs and spirit drumming that speaks to members' experiences as children of the African Diaspora.

In addition to the free events, the International and Cross-Cultural Medical Association will sponsor an “Afro Rock” featuring Shaka-Ra and his band, World Pop Machine, and special guest Janet Herzenberg at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11, in Fairchild Auditorium at the Stanford Medical Center. Donation is $10 in advance and $12 at the door; $2 off with student ID. Proceeds will benefit AIDS treatment and education in Zaire.

Traditionally, many Stanford student groups plan Black Liberation Month events in coordination with the Black Student Union. Fewer smaller events for students are scheduled this year because of a shortage of funding caused by the student electorate's vote last spring not to give the BSU and some other student organizations a portion of student fees. Depending upon success in fund-raising, a soul-food dinner that is popular with students may not be held this year, said Tina Gridiron, one of the student coordinators who is involved in fund-raising.

“Donations would be appreciated for either this year or next year's events,” she said.



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