Today marks the beginning of Black History Month and the start of a variety of screenings, lectures and exhibitions celebrating African American history and culture.

This evening will include a discussion on racial politics at 5 p.m. in the Loma Pelona Center. Tomorrow features a Black Student Union workshop on race and sexual violence at 5 p.m. in the Women’s Center and a film screening about the murder of three civil rights activists in Mississippi in 1964 at 6 p.m. in the MultiCultural Center.

Events on campus are designed to both commemorate the black community’s past struggles and educate the public about obstacles still encountered.

According to BSU co-chair Gadise Regassa, a third-year sociology and black studies major, the first events of the month underscore African American heritage and cultural history.

“Black narrative heritage is not really shown in American mainstream history,” Regassa said. “Who we really are as black people is washed away. So, by ‘breaking the silence’ we would like to reveal the diverse black culture in America.”

According to MCC Associate Director Vivianna Marsano, the center participates in Black History Month because of its focus on minority representation.

“The mission of the MCC is to educate the student [and] Santa Barbara communities on issues pertaining to historically marginalized communities,” Marsano said.

Salvador Guerena, the California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives director, said the group is co-organizing an exhibit featuring vintage posters depicting cultural diversity, social change and human rights at the College of Creative Studies Gallery from Feb. 8 to March 4.

“It’s two opportunities to use our collections that celebrate our cultural heritage and recognize our cultural artists, to recognize our African American leaders who have historically played a very important part of Santa Barbara’s history,” Guerena said. For a list of events, visit and