Introducing PASO’s Black Gala

Andrew ClarkStaff Writer

PASO is presenting the Black Gala this Friday evening, Feb. 24. Grab your best formal black  attire and get ready for an elegant night full of music, food, prizes, and learning. There will be a guest speaker, Assistant Professor in History Dr. Katelyn Aguilar, with a talk entitled, “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize”. The event is being held in Alumni Hall from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m.

This Gala is a culmination of a series of events throughout the month of February that celebrates Black History month, while providing an educational experience about the history of African Americans in the United States and the struggle for social justice. These events have happened on Friday evenings throughout February and have included activities such as a pajama movie night and a 90’s theme kickback. These events provide an enjoyable experience while supporting Gustavus’s African American population and learning more about Black history.

Aguilar’s talk entitled, “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize,” will be focusing on the relationship between Black History, Black Studies, and student activism. Aguilar has a bachelor’s degree in Black studies, as well as a master’s degree in African Studies, and now teaches about Black History here at Gustavus. She is also an activist herself and can provide unique insight into how her research, teaching, and activism intersect with one another. 

Aguilar will address the differences between social justice in a theoretical aspect as well as in practice, and how it has changed and affected the world around it. She will also talk about the ways that students of any race can help support their African American peers in their struggles.

 “My hope is that students will walk away with an understanding of what Black Studies is and how the fight to include Black History and Black Studies into the curriculum was a product of student strikes and activism in the 1960s. I want students to gain an appreciation for how much of the Black Freedom struggle was led and inspired by students, and the power they have, today to effect change in higher ed and beyond,” wrote Aguilar in reference to her hopes and aspirations for her upcoming talk.

Aguilar will address the multicultural activist movements and how many of the biggest social justice reform movements were and continue to be multiracial. She will address the power that you have as a student as well as a peer. 

This Black Gala is an opportunity to have fun, but to also learn about the history of the African American struggle. “Black history is about more than struggle. It is also about innovation, inspiration, joy, and cultural diversity. Come join us to celebrate this rich and beautiful experience, a global Black experience, at Gustavus and beyond,” said Aguilar when asked about the opportunities that are being offered at this gala and with PASO.

All are welcome and encouraged to come for a night of fun, food, learning, and activism. There will be food, prizes, and music throughout the night. Guests will also learn about some of PASO’s efforts on campus and how they can help here at Gustavus. PASO hopes to see many of you there!

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