Former NBA star turned activist part of Black History Month lineup

Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf

Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf 

Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, a standout for the Denver Nuggets in the 1990s and subject of the upcoming Showtime documentary “Stand,” will share his fight for social justice as part of a robust schedule of Black History Month events. 

A conversation with San Francisco Bay Area-based hip-hop artist and entrepreneur LaRussell, a performance by Stockton Soul and a community health fair are among the other signature events. The full calendar is available online.

“We want to have events that speak to different people and educate them about the impact of the African American community,” said Randall Ogans, Black History Month planning committee co-chair. “After seeing the work that’s been done, we hope that it inspires other people to make an impact.”

An Evening with Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf

Abdul-Rauf, formerly known as Chris Jackson, will join Pacific Men’s Basketball Head Coach Leonard Perry Feb. 21 in Faye Spanos Concert Hall for a discussion of his basketball career, Islamic faith and how his fight for justice shaped his life.

Despite having Tourette’s syndrome, Abdul-Rauf was selected with the third pick in the NBA Draft to play for the Denver Nuggets in 1990. His successful career (he scored 32 points in a game once against Michael Jordan) took a turn during the 1995-96 season.

Abdul-Rauf said he viewed the American flag as a symbol of oppression and refused to stand during the national anthem. Despite coming to an agreement with the league that allowed him to stand and pray with his head down during the anthem, he was traded at the end of the season, and his career ended when his contract expired.

An Evening with LaRussell

Independent hip-hop artist LaRussell will share his musical and entrepreneurial journey Feb. 10 in the Don and Karen DeRosa University Center.

The Vallejo native created a production company called “Good Compenny” to help other independent artists launch their careers. In 2021, he sold shares of his music catalog to fans, allowing them to earn passive income as his music is streamed. “This is about building community wealth,” LaRussell said.

Local orchestral music group Stockton Soul, which includes Pacific students and alumni, will perform as the event’s opening act. 

Community Health Fair

The Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy will provide free diabetes, cholesterol and blood pressure screenings and vaccinations during a Community Health Fair at Progressive Community Church in Stockton Feb. 18. 

The first 150 participants will receive a bag of fresh produce and health care items. Free blood glucose monitors, testing supplies and blood pressure machines also will be provided to those who qualify while supplies last.

“This health fair is targeted to a community in which cardiovascular disease is disproportionately high. We want to provide health screenings and services while also referring people to other social service agencies when appropriate,” said Raj Patel, professor of Pharmacy Practice. 

Additional events

Professor of Media X Macelle Mahala will present “Black History, Black Theater” at the Alex and Jeri Vereschagin Alumni House Feb. 7. The reading and discussion of Mahala’s book “Black Theater, City Life: African American Arts Institutions and urban Cultural Ecologies,” explores American history through the lens of black theater production. 

Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Mary Lomax-Ghirarduzzi will speak on equity-minded leadership in a post affirmative action environment Feb. 28 in the William Knox Holt Memorial Library and via live stream. The presentation explores what could happen if the Supreme Court decides to remove all considerations of race in the college admissions process.

Lomax-Ghirarduzzi will be honored for her work in education equity with a “Black History Month Legacy Award of Excellence” during the 35th Annual Black Expo Legacy Awards Gala Feb. 26 in Sacramento. 

A screening of “Adapting History” will take place on the Sacramento Campus Feb. 2. The film was produced by McGeorge School of Law alumnus Amadeu “Dayo” Goncalves ’16 and is an oral telling of “American music through history and American history through music.” Cast members will hold a question-and-answer session after the screening.

“We have so many great events planned to increase people’s knowledge,” said Alicia Perry ’14, ’19, ’24, a doctoral student and member of the planning committee. “I hope the takeaway is that we (the Black community) matter and the events that are being highlighted are a reflection of Black excellence.”

Many Black History Month events are open to the public with pre-registration required for those with limited seating.