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Gainesville State celebrates an early Mardi Gras
Festival launches colleges Black History Month events
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OAKWOOD -- Gainesville State College kicked off Black History Month with a bang Friday night as nearly 100 students and staff gathered for a Mardi Gras Masquerade.

The social mixer included a brief history of the origination of Mardi Gras and Carnival, samba music provided by Jazz Baptiste Productions, Caribbean food and drinks, a crowning of Mardi Gras King and Queen, and a Capoeira performance, which is an African acrobatic dance, performed by University of Georgia students.

Held in the Continuing Education Building Atrium, the event was a collaborative effort between the Black Student Association, the International Student Association and the Latino Student Association.

The masquerade is the brainchild of Tashiana Cheeks, adviser of the International Student Association. Cheeks coordinated the event to show "how African history has a thread through other cultures and history."

Louis Negron, adviser of the Latino Student Association, also helped plan the event. "It’s a wonderful way to represent different countries and cultures and it helps tie in the culture of Africa," Negron said.

Negron and Cheeks said they both wanted to celebrate different cultures within the United States and show another aspect of Mardi Gras.

"In my country, we celebrate Carnival for Independence Day," said Franco Chevalier, treasurer of the International Student Association. "Here this event (Mardi Gras) is perceived as pagan and perverted, but it has history in my country. People should know more about it. It’s not just a college event; we want the community involved as well."

Chevalier was born in the Dominican Republic and saw the event as a "pretty neat idea and way of educating people."

GSC President Martha Nesbitt attended the event to meet with students and show support for student activities.

"It’s important to mix fun with history," she said. "It really shows how active our offices are."

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