Springfield Technical Community College’s Diversity and Speaker Series got its start for the fall with an appearance by Keith Knight, a cartoonist, writer, social activist and educator.

Knight also is the inspiration for the Hulu streaming-series “Woke,” which takes an absurdly irreverent look at identity and culture as it follows Keef, an African-American cartoonist finally on the verge of mainstream success when an unexpected incident changes everything.

Knight’s audience was primarily students and they hung on every word at the auditorium in Scibelli Hall on Thursday, Sept. 29. He told his audience it is important to tell our stories, which can build community and brings collective knowledge and healing.

Black history is American history, he explained. When a Black student has a Black professor or teacher in their educational journey, their chances of going to college and graduating increase exponentially.

Knight said to have difficult conversations about race, it is vital if we are going to move the needle on racism and if we want to create real change in America.

Vonetta Lightfoot, Multicultural Affairs Operations Manager, said the campus community and the Western Massachusetts community present felt as though he was telling their story when it came to recalling segregation, racism and various events throughout the civil rights era.

Lightfoot said the event was a very powerful reminder of how important it is to keep the arts in the school.  Through Knight’s art he is able to tell his own stories and help others relate to the stories of others. He can also bring light to the inequities and social justice issues in a way that relates to young people and ignites them to be a part of the change they want to see in the world.

Knight, one of the most highly-regarded cartoonists in the United States, showcased his work which mixes humor, satire, politics and race.

For some 30 years, he has been creating three popular comic strips: the Knight Life, (th)ink, and the K Chronicles.

The show “Woke,” is now in its second season. Knight serves as the show’s co-creator, writer, and executive producer.

A rapper, social activist, educator, and father, Keith Knight is part of a generation of African American artists who were raised on hip-hop. His art has appeared in various publications worldwide, including the Washington Post, the New Yorker, San Francisco Chronicle, the Nib, Ebony, ESPN the Magazine, MAD Magazine, and the Funny Times.

Here are the other speakers in the fall 2022 Diversity Series:

Raul Fernandez, Ed.D., Wednesday, Oct. 5, 11:15 a.m., Scibelli Hall, 7th Floor: He is the former vice chair of the Brookline Select Board, a senior lecturer at BU’s Wheelock College of Education & Human Development and a candidate for state representative.

Nic Stone, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 11:15 a.m. (virtual event): She is the New York Times bestselling author of “Dear Martin” and “Dear Justyce.” Register for this event at stcc.edu/campus-life/diversity/multicultural-affairs/speaker-performance.