COCC Celebrates Black History Month, Hosts Social Justice Events

(Bestselling novelist Kim Johnson, a social justice leader and University of Oregon vice provost, will discuss her young adult novel This Is My America in a COCC livestream event on February 21. | Photo courtesy of COCC)

In commemoration of Black History Month and its ongoing Season of Nonviolence programming, Central Oregon Community College (COCC) is hosting a diverse and engaging lineup of free public events this winter for exploration and discussion.

As part of an ongoing series of discussions on equity, racism and social justice, COCC is hosting a virtual community forum titled Equity in the Outdoors from 4-5pm on Monday, January 30, to include a panel of local outdoor educators. Register for the Zoom webinar at

Black History Month programming includes a film screening of the critically acclaimed The Hate U Give (February 3), a Black Excellence Art Showcase featuring both an exhibition (January 18 to February 24) and a live spoken-word performance (February 11), and a livestream book event with the bestselling author of This Is My America, Kim Johnson (February 21). All events are free and open to the public. Learn more by visiting

“In addition to reinforcing some crucial conversations and perspectives in the community, this year’s programming around Black History Month celebrates Black culture through arts and literature,” said Marcus LeGrand, coordinator of COCC’s Afrocentric program. “We’re excited for Central Oregon to join in and be an active part of these important events.”

The film screening of The Hate U Give is from 6-8pm on Friday, February 3, in the Hitchcock Auditorium on the Bend campus, followed by a short discussion. The 2018 film portrays how a witness to the fatal shooting of an unarmed Black youth by a white police officer navigates pressures from all sides of the community.

The Black Excellence Art Showcase, open to students and community members, with Bend’s first Creative Laureate Mosley Wotta to perform, takes place from 6-8pm on Saturday, February 11, in the Pinckney Center in Pence Hall on the Bend campus. Set amongst the art exhibition of the same name (January 18 to February 24, in the adjoining Pinckney Gallery), performance artists are invited to share monologues, poetry, songs, dance and other works. Interested individuals can sign up at

Bestselling novelist Kim Johnson, a social justice leader and University of Oregon vice provost, will discuss her young adult novel, This Is My America, in a Tuesday, February 21 livestream event from 5-6pm. The book explores racial injustice against innocent Black men who are criminally sentenced and the families left behind to pick up the pieces. Recipient of the Pacific Northwest Book Award and the Malka Penn Human Rights Award, the book is being developed as a series for the HBO Max streaming service. Register at

For more information on these events, contact Marcus LeGrand at or 541-330-4376. In advance of college events, persons needing accommodation or transportation because of a physical or mobility disability should contact Caitlyn Gardner at 541-383-7237. For accommodation because of other disability, such as hearing impairment, contact disability services at 541-383-7583.

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