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Ohio State African American Heritage Festival reaches 30-year milestone

Columbus – Aaron McGruder, creator of the award-winning animated comedy series "The Boondocks," will take part in the 30th anniversary of the African American Heritage Festival on the Ohio State University campus. This year's celebration will be held April 26 through May 3.

A world-renowned cartoonist and political commentator, McGruder will share his insight on the creation of the series during a community forum at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday (4/30) at the Newport Music Hall, 1722 N. High St.

Gabrielle St. Lèger, coordinator of African American Student Services, said the 30th anniversary marks a special moment in the evolution of the festival.

"The heritage festival has served as a hallmark for creative dialogue and the resolution of differences while building appreciation for diversity," St. Lèger said. "Students have again this year organized a dynamic schedule of events to attract the broad interests of the campus and greater Columbus communities."

"Nia" is the Swahili word for purpose and the theme for the 2008 celebration. The kick-off celebration, featuring carnival activities and a wellness fair, will take place from 2 to 6 p.m. on Saturday (4/26) at the Browning Amphitheater on the South Oval.

Motivational speaker Jonathan Sprinkles, "The Connection Coach," will host a Town Hall Forum at 6 p.m. Monday (4/28) at the Hale Black Cultural Center, 153 W. 12th Ave. Sprinkles will lead a discussion on discovering individual purpose with guest panelists and audience members. Two college-bound high school seniors, winners of a heritage festival essay contest, will be honored with academic scholarships at the close of the program.

Throughout the week, Ohio State students will participate in the ColumbusReads literacy program at area Columbus City Schools. Two campus favorites also return to the schedule, the "Poetry Slam" (4/29) and "Soul Time at OSU" (5/1).

The week will close with the 21st Annual National Pan-Hellenic Step Show at 6 p.m. on Saturday (5/3) at Mershon Auditorium, 1871 N. High St. A limited number of discount tickets are available for $12 at Explore Columbus for Ohio State students with a valid BuckID. General admission tickets are $15 and available at the Mershon ticket office and all Ticketmaster outlets.

A complete listing of all activities is available at 2008 African American Heritage Festival