Commemorate Black History Month at Ocean County College

Feb 13, 2019
Supplied Photo AISHA FUKUSHIMA is a Singer, Speaker, Educator, and ‘RAPtivist’

February is Black History Month and Ocean County College’s Organization for Black Unity is celebrating. All events for this year’s celebration – the theme for which is “Black Migrations” – will be held on the college’s main campus in Toms River, and are open to the public.

On Saturday, Feb. 23, the The Group Fire headlines the 19th annual Gospel Extravaganza. The evening of song, dance and gospel music begins at 6 on the main stage of the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students, seniors and children younger than 12, and are available for purchase at the Student Life Office in the OCC College Center. A portion of the proceeds benefits OBU’s scholarship fund and cultural awareness trips.

Then, on Tuesday, Feb. 26, singer, speaker, educator and “RAPtivist” (rap activist) Aisha Fukushima visits campus to present a lecture in the Grunin Center at 11 a.m. As the college explains, “Fukushima founded RAPtivism, a hip hop project spanning 20 countries and four continents, amplifying universal efforts for freedom and justice. She is a multilingual, multiracial African American Japanese woman who has done lectures and performances everywhere from the U.S. to France and beyond.”

The following day – Wednesday, Feb. 27 – Fukushima will lead workshops from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m., also in the Grunin Center. The first workshop – “Free Yo Mind!” – is a multimedia performance lecture through which Fukashima “inspires audiences to critically engage with the roles of race, power and oppression at play in our everyday lives,” OCC notes. “Speaking from her own experiences as a global cultural activist and organizer, she also turns the mic to audience members, encouraging them to recognize their own power as agents of change in their respective communities.”

“Who Run The World? Gender, Empowerment and Cultural Activism,” meanwhile, is a highly dynamic workshop in which “Fukushima draws from her experience as an African American Japanese global cultural activist and feminist to explore the themes of women’s empowerment, feminism and imagining a world beyond the gender binary,” says OCC.

At noon on Thursday, Feb. 28, the lowering of the Black Flag at the flag pole on the campus mall signals the close of events for this year.

For more information on the Black History Month events at OCC, contact Henry Jackson, director of academic success, at 732-255-0400, extension 2257, or

All events are sponsored by the OCC Organization for Black Unity and the Office of Student Life.

OCC is located on College Drive in Toms River. Visit to learn more. —J.K.-H.

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