“Black History Month speaker: We don’t look like our story”

The Department of Diversity and Inclusion is hosting a Black History Month keynote address from 7-8 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 27, in the Doc Bryan Lecture Hall.

The guest speaker, Monti Washington, will give an interactive presentation called “From the Streets to the Stage.” Washington’s message is one of motivation. He will offer students personal insight on how to overcome obstacles and achieve their dreams.

Washington grew up in poverty and lived with his drug-addicted mother, before being placed in foster care.

“We don’t look like our story,” Washington said.

Despite his adversity, he obtained two college degrees; he’s also an author, artist and entrepreneur. His program is tailored to “teach students how to make it from the streets of their fears to the stage of their dreams,” according to Washington’s website, montivation.com.

“We [the department of Diversity and Inclusion] really wanted to have a speaker for Black History Month that would not only empower our African-American students, but all of our students. No matter what background, no matter where you came from, this is a presentation everybody can take something from,” said Fabiana Monte, graduate assistant for the Department of Diversity and Inclusion.

Washington is currently traveling to colleges and universities across the nation on his 2018 Spring Tour called ‘Montivation.’ The tour has 22 stops, which include appearances at the University of Arkansas, the University of Alabama, North Carolina State University and Indiana University.

In addition to motivational speaking, Washington is an award-winning poet, a playwright and founder of truality.org. TRUality is a non-profit organization aimed at inspiring youth to be true to themselves. He is also an actor and can be seen on the TV series “MOM,” which airs on CBS, as well as independent films and nationally televised commercials.

The Department of Diversity and Inclusion reported more than 200 attendees at last year’s event. This will be the 4th annual Black History Month keynote address the department has hosted. The presentation is free to students and open to the public.