Oakton Announces Black History Month Events

Leo High School Boys Choir will kick off Black History Month at Oakton, Feb. 1.
Des Plaines, Ill. (Jan. 25, 2024) – As the calendar turns to February, Oakton College proudly announces a vibrant lineup of events and programs to commemorate Black History Month. With a commitment to celebrating the rich tapestry of African American history, culture and contributions, Oakton invites the community to join the free and open-to-the-public month-long program that promises to educate and inspire.

Leo High School Boys Choir Performance
Feb. 1, 12:30 p.m., Des Plaines
Commence Black History Month with the captivating sounds of Chicago's globally acclaimed Leo High School Boys Choir, as we explore this year's theme, "African Americans and the Arts." For years, the Choir has enchanted audiences with dynamic harmonies, weaving a vibrant tapestry that celebrates the cultural richness of the South Side.

Amidst its numerous achievements, the school proudly boasts a remarkable 100% graduation rate and a 100% college acceptance rate over the past 12 years. Under the skillful and nurturing direction of Mrs. LaDonna Hill, the Choir has evolved into one of the school's most prominent and cherished assets. Their infectious energy and extraordinary talent continue to leave a lasting impression on audiences throughout Chicago, solidifying their status as ambassadors of artistic excellence.

Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story Of Black Colleges And Universities
Feb. 5, 2 - 4 p.m., Des Plaines and Skokie campuses
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have long been trailblazers in providing educational opportunities for African Americans and serving as catalysts for social and political change. Join us for a viewing of the “Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story Of Black Colleges And Universities” documentary, followed by a discussion of how HBCUs are relevant and necessary — now more than ever.

Black In Green: Black Entrepreneurs In The Cannabis Industry
Feb. 9, 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., Online
Join the conversation about the cannabis industry, opportunities for engagement and barriers that prevent African Americans from gaining access. Panelists for this conversation include Donna Bracey, co-owner of Bud Weed and Flower; Belicia Royster, founder of Social Equity Empowerment Network (S.E.E.N) and Shawnee Williams, founder of Illinois Equity Staffing.

Bud Weed and Flower is a boutique cannabis construction and facility design company that provides consulting and owner’s rep services to the cannabis industry. S.E.E.N. is a business and trade association created to work earnestly against the disparities and inaccuracies of justice. Illinois Equity Staffing is a responsible vendor organization that provides employee training, talent acquisition and human resources consulting for cannabis companies across the industry ecosystem.

African Diaspora Market Night
Feb. 16, 5-9 p.m., Des Plaines campus
Support local Black-owned businesses selling food, crafts, clothing, jewelry and more at Oakton’s first African Diaspora Market Night. This is a unique opportunity to meet vendors, buy from small minority-owned businesses and connect with other community members while enjoying music.

Author’s Talk with Adrian Miller, Cooking Demo and Book Signing
Feb. 22, noon-1:30 p.m., Des Plaines campus
Meet Adrian Miller, a food writer, James Beard Award winner, attorney, and certified barbecue judge featured in the Netflix hit “High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America.”

Miller is the author of three popular books: “Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time,” “The President’s Kitchen Cabinet: The Story of the African Americans Who Have Fed Our First Families, From the Washingtons to the Obamas” and “Black Smoke: African Americans and the United States of Barbecue.”

Cooking Demo with Chef Q
Feb. 22, 4 p.m., Des Plaines campus
Chef Q is the founder and executive chef of the Teertsemasesottehg (TEO), Chicago’s only interactive secret location underground dining experience. She is also a founder of the Kids w/Co-workers, a free farm-to-fork meal program.

Chef Q has gained recognition for her dedication to tackling food insecurity, earning several accolades. Among them is the 2021 Red Cross Disaster Services Hero award, acknowledging her service to the community. Additionally, she has been distinguished as one of the 2021 CNN Heroes for her impactful Kids w/Co-workers Initiative. In 2022, Chef Q was awarded a fellowship with Kraft Heinz and The Lee Initiative.

Black History Month Closing with Motivational Speaker Allen Bryson
Feb. 29, 12-1:30 p.m., Des Plaines campus
Meet Allen Bryson, a Chicago native, author, poet, spoken-word artist, motivational speaker, and educational specialist. Bryson has shared the stage with speakers such as Harry Belafonte, Les Brown, Danny Glover, Def Poetry Jam co-founder Bruce George, and Minister Louis Farrakhan. He has opened up for celebrities such as BET’s Bruce-Bruce, Last Poets, and performed at numerous conferences, concerts and cultural shows.

Noted by the DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center as one of Chicago’s Kings of Poetry, he was featured on the Operation Push morning broadcast with the Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr., which was seen in over 45 countries. He is the author of two books, “Sleeping with My Eyes Open” and “The Ministry of Motivation.”

For more information and details about Black History Month and other events at Oakton, please visit https://events.oakton.edu/black-history-month.