In the spirit of Black History Month, CSU Stanislaus held the Fifth Annual Black Power Matters Festival on February 22. This is the first time since 2020 that this festival has been held in-person.

The theme of this festival is the radical reclaiming of black joy and liberation emphasizing the deconstruction of the white supremacist narrative of blackness.

This event was organized by Goahu Tefera, an assistant Ethnic Studies professor at Stanislaus State.


Event attendees paying attention to the speaker.

Dr. Horace Campbell, a professor of African American studies and political science at Syracuse University, was the guest speaker for this event.

Dr. Goshu Tefera described him as, “a distinguished scholar, activist and author whose work has been instrumental in shaping our understanding of blackness and Africanism, liberation, social justice, and what it means to be human,”

The first part of the festival began with Dr. Horace Campbell speaking on radical reclamation of black joy and liberation.

Dr. Campbell stated that, “Black joy is an act of resistance.”

Everyone has their struggles in life no matter what ethnicity or gender, however once one is treated lesser simply for the way they look, the struggles of all aspects of their life increase.

Throughout his presentation Dr. Campbell allowed the audience to listen to music written by black artists. “Respect” (Aretha Franklin), “What's Going On?” (Marvin Gaye), and “A Change is Gonna Come” (Sam Cooke) were a few of the songs the audience listened and sang along to.

Attendees talking among themselves waiting for the event to start.

Once Dr. Campbell finished his speech there was a 20 minute intermission. The attendees were served soul food for dinner.

After the intermission, students from Ethnic Atudies had the chance to present various works of art they made to celebrate black culture. These works of art ranged from paintings to poems.


Attendees mingling during the intermission.

Roman Navarro (junior, Computer Science) created a website titled the Black Power Military Academy.

Navarro stated this website was “Nothing really symbolic more like just a tongue and cheek fictional black power military academy.” Despite its comedic nature, it had important underlying themes regarding racism and equality.

At the end of this night of celebration, the African Drum Interactive took the floor and taught the audience how to play the Djembe, an African goblet drum. Through this lesson, the African Drum Interactive taught the audience about African culture and history.

Attendees picking up their Djembe (African goblet drum) for the African Drum Interactive.

An important part of African life is community and family.

Dante, the leader of the African Drum Interactive said, “When it comes to African culture, in particular, it's very very rare to have, you know you just can’t be a viewer you have to take part in the celebration.”

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