Taking the stage Tuesday night in the University Center Ballroom, special guest Shaun King spoke at length about his personal views, the span of history and organizing change.
One of the numerous events for Black History Month, The All Black Gala opened with the African American anthem sung by Mykhail Jackson, a spoken word poem done by Jasmine Lottier, opening remarks by CSUMB lecturer George Station, and an introduction by Amber Ward and Hayley Hutt. The two MC’s for the evening were CSUMB students, Michelle Vazquez and Hiovanni Gonzalez. All of this was a lead in for the keynote speaker of the evening, Shaun King.
Shaun King was the youngest Student Government President elected at Morehouse College in 1999. He was considered one of the loudest and outspoken activists at Morehouse College, though when he graduated he moved on to be a popular high school history and civics teacher in Atlanta, then a traveling teacher and counselor at dozens of different prisons and juvenile detention centers. King married his high school sweetheart, and is the father of five children ranging in age from pre-school to high school. King is now a speaker and activist based out of Brooklyn, New York, though he speaks all around the country.
In his speech, King told the audience about his past, focusing on his personal, academic and activism. “All of that shaped me into who I am today. And so, I find myself and you’ll find yourself- when things get crazy- you’ll often find yourself leaning on what you know. And history is the lens- it’s the primary skill that I have- that gives me a lens to see the world. So, tonight, I want to teach you a lesson, and give you a tool through which to see the world that we’re living in.”
We spoke with King after the event and asked him how he felt to be on the CSUMB campus: “I got a chance to meet a few hundred students and staff. It was a great energy. I felt like, I learned a lot about even the student experience, but I got a chance to teach some lessons as well. It was a great experience. I’m glad I came.”
King closed with one last parting comment about CSUMB: “I’m actually excited about the campus. I learned a lot about the university. I’ve spoken all over the country at universities that are several hundred years old, and it’s cool to see a school that’s younger than me. I’m 38. And so, to see that 25 years ago somebody had an idea and we’re all here as an expression of that idea. It’s a pretty cool thing, so I’m excited to see how the university grows in the future.”