Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center host celebration for achievements in Oregon’s black communities

Breana Brown, Practicum Contributor

The Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center hosted its second annual Black Excellence Celebration yesterday evening to kickstart a host of Black History Month events.

The celebration opened with food and fellowship welcoming all students, staff, families and honorees in attendance. This event honored prominent members of the black community in Oregon whose achievements represent a prime example of black excellence. Among those honored were Mike Abraham, Dr. Allison Davis-White Eyes, Kim McAloney, Charlene McGee, Rev. George Whitefield and Dr. Damoni Wright.

“Being honored is always odd and weird for me. I am just one of those people, that it just makes uncomfortable,” Wright said. “What I learned from some mentors of mine is that being honored doesn’t mean that you have achieved something, it just means you’re on the right track. So I feel like if I am on the right track and I have only been here a year and a half, it is encouragement to keep doing more. Not just what I have been doing, but more.”

“Especially with all of the faces I have seen here in this room, there is nothing like the feeling than that of this community,” Wright added. “That’s why you love to be recognized by the community you grew up around. “

Wright serves as the Executive Director overlooking centers for leadership development, student events and activities, fraternity and sorority life and civic engagement on campus. This is just a portion of his involvement in the Oregon State community.

Aside from those awarded for their representation of black excellence was Associate Director and Chief of Staff for Diversity and Cultural Engagement Jason Dorsette. Dorsette is the first to be honored with the “Jason Dorsette Leadership Award” for his exemplary leadership toward the black community throughout his time at Oregon State.

“I am elated,” Dorsette said. “I am really excited and happy to support the students at Oregon State University. While I certainly love supporting, advising, coaching and serving as a mentor to all students on campus, the black students have a special place in heart because there is not a lot of black students on campus and it’s certainly not a lot of African American role models.  So I am very honored that they thought of me to be the first person to receive this award.”

The event not only awarded those previously stated, but also acknowledged a few well-known African-Americans for their achievements this year. Of those named was Simone Manuel, honored by the LBHBCC’s graphic designer Lorenzo Lowe.

“Simone Manuel from Houston, Texas made history on August 11th when she became the first black woman to earn a gold medal in individual swimming,” Lowe said.

She was just one of the few acknowledged. In addition, the loving memories Afeni Shakur, Philando Castile, and Alton Sterling were given tribute. The event was a celebration and reflection of Black Excellence represented throughout 2016.

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