Local events planned for Black History Month

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BDN file photo (From left): Dawn Akbar and her daughter Layla pick up food from Ann Krueger during last year's Soul Food Dinner at Robinson Elementary School. This year's dinner is from 5:30-7 p.m. on Feb. 23.

Local schools and colleges are hosting community events in honor of Black History Month in addition to celebrations inside the classroom.

Residents are invited to attend numerous events:

. The Multicultural Excellence Organization (MEO) will be hosting a Soul Food Luncheon from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. on Friday at Beloit Memorial High School's Barkin Arena. Proceeds from the luncheon support students attending the Rising Knights Historically Black Colleges and Universities Tour and ongoing programming of the organization. The lunch is open to the public and tickets cost $8. Tickets may be purchased from any MEO member or by contacting Regina Hendrix at rhendrix@sdb.k12.wi.us. School district public information officer/community relations coordinator Jennifer Thompson said some tickets may be sold at the door if there are any left.

• Aldrich Intermediate School in Beloit will be hosting a Multicultural Heritage Night from 5-7 p.m. on Feb. 15. Kurt Handrich, eighth grade US History teacher, said from 5 - 5:30 p.m. staff members will be sharing their experiences of traveling to different nations. From 5:30 - 7 p.m. food will be served, and there will be special performances by the Evenstart Dancers and the Beloit Knightingales. Handrich said families are encouraged to bring dishes that embody their cultural backgrounds. There also will be door prizes and drawings. He said the community is welcome.

• Blackhawk Technical College's Multi-Cultural Alliance will be showing the documentary "At the River I Stand" from 8 - 9:30 a.m. and 6 - 8 p.m. on Feb. 19 at the Central Campus. The documentary is about the two months in 1968 that led to the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the climax of the Civil Rights Movement.

. Students at Hackett Elementary School in Beloit will be engaging in a Read Your Heart Out event from 10 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 23. Students will explore African American histories and traditions through historical walks through song, dance, storytelling, art and culinary delights. Hackett is currently seeking volunteers to bring food, to be a classroom reader, and to help during lunch. If interested in volunteering, residents may contact special education teacher Camille Schwartz at 608-361-2434 or lschwartz@sdb.k12.wi.us.

• Robinson Elementary School in Beloit will be hosting its fourth annual Soul Food Dinner from 5:30 - 7 p.m. on Feb. 23. The event is for Robinson students and their families. Speech pathologist Vickie Strand, retired social worker Jackie Jackson and cook Pebbles Harris have partnered with staff and residents to host this event. Residents can look forward to numerous food options, such as fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, greens, strawberry cakes and more, along with musical entertainment by Carl and Dianna Cole. Strand said the event is first-come-first-serve with around 200 attendees. Information will go out to Robinson families this week, and when the families RSVP the district will send the families their tickets.

• The community is encouraged to listen to Major General Marcia Anderson speak at Blackhawk Technical College from noon - 1 p.m. on Feb. 26. This event is being put on by the college's Student Government and Multi-Cultural Alliance. Anderson, who is formerly of Beloit, was the first African American Brigadier General to serve as the Deputy Commanding General of the Army's Human Resources Command. She was the first African American female Major General in the Army, Army Reserve or Active Army, and her subsequent assignment as the Deputy Chief, Army Reserve in 2011. Major General Anderson also earned a Juris Doctorate in law from the Rutgers University School of Law in 1984 and a Masters in Strategic Studies from the Army War College in 2003. As a citizen-soldier, Anderson is employed by the United States Courts, where she serves as the Clerk of the Bankruptcy Court, Western District of Wisconsin, located in Madison.

• A Soul Food Luncheon will be held from 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. on Feb. 27 at Blackhawk Technical College's Central Campus on the North Commons. Tickets for the staff and public are $10, and tickets for students and senior citizens are $8. The reservation deadline is Feb. 22. The main dishes will be chicken, ham, catfish and barbecue ribs with drinks, desserts and sides. Music will be provided by the Harlan Jefferson Duo, and proceeds from the lunch will support scholarships for multi-ethnic students. For tickets and more information, call 608-757-7717.

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