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African American Heritage Festival begins Saturday

COLUMBUS – A town hall meeting hosted by television personality Jeff Johnson, events benefiting AIDS research and the annual Greek step show highlight the events planned for the 2007 African American Heritage Festival, which begins Saturday (4/28) on the Ohio State University campus.

The theme for the 29th annual event, "Many Roots, One Tree," was derived from the Swahili word Mzizi, meaning roots. The festival will conclude on Saturday, May 5.

"The overreaching goal for heritage festival is to engage the university and Columbus community in programs that generate an appreciation for African American art, culture, education and individual talents," said Gabrielle St. Leger, coordinator for Ohio State African American Student Services.

Student chair Stacyann Russell said that the festival represents a true sense of accomplishment and pride for students.
"Students have been working diligently for nearly a year to present a festival that embodies the rich heritage that we have as African Americans," Russell said. "It is our history, our challenges and dreams, basically our roots – which we want to share with our classmates, faculty and staff."
A partial list of events follows. For complete information log on to heritagefestival.osu.edu/schedule.asp

Saturday, April 28
• Heritage Festival Kick-Off & Vendor Fair,
1 to 5:30 p.m., Browning Amphitheatre and South Oval
The opening celebration will include a cookout along with games and entertainment. A variety of African and African American art, books, food and music will displayed and available for purchase.

Sunday, April 29
• Gospel Music Festival,
5 to 7:30 p.m., Hitchcock Hall, 2070 Neil Ave.
Hosted by Ohio State student and "Street Pastor" Yaves Ellis, the Ohio State African American Voices Gospel Choir will perform in concert.

Monday, April 30
• Town Hall Meeting,
6:30 to 9:30 p.m., Hitchcock Hall, 2070 Neil Ave.
Black Entertainment Television personality Jeff Johnson is the featured speaker. Johnson will also moderate a panel discussion on prevalent issues facing the African American community with participants from the university and Columbus community.

Tuesday, May 1
• Poetry Slam,
7 to 9 p.m., Hagerty Hall, 1775 College Rd.
Hosted by noted poet and writer Mo Browne, students will showcase their talent and creativity through poetry, creative writing, and dance.

Wednesday, May 2
• Soul Time At OSU,
7 to 9 p.m., Newport Music Hall, 1722 N. High St.
Ohio State students will display all the different art forms that can come from one root. Comic View talent Ronnie Jordan will host.

Thursday, May 3
• Silent Art Auction,
6 to 9 p.m., Hale Black Cultural Center, 153 W. 12th Ave.
Artists from throughout the community will display their work with proceeds benefiting the Ohio State AIDS Clinical Trials Unit. A viewing of the ABC Television special report "Out of Control - AIDS on Black America" will be shown from Noon to 3 p.m. at the Hale Center.

Friday, May 4
• Mahogany Moments,
8 to 11 p.m., Faculty Club, 181 S. Oval Dr.
The semi-formal dinner dance with include a celebration of jazz music.
Tickets are $8 per ticket and $12 per couple and are available for purchase at the Hale Black Cultural Center, 153 W. 12th Ave. Proceeds will benefit the Ohio State AIDS Clinical Trial Unit.

Saturday, May 5
• 20th Annual Pan-Hellenic Step Show,
6 to 10 p.m., Mershon Auditorium, 1871 N. High St.
Hosted by Fonzworth Bentley, this long-held dance tradition performed by Ohio State's Black Greek community fuses African step routines and contemporary dance moves. Tickets are $12 for Ohio State students and $15 to the general public, and available at all Ticketmaster outlets and the Ohio Union Information Center located at Ohio Stadium.