Student Leaders Talk Black History Month Programming

Beverly Danquah, Features Editor

Growing up, Raven Jackson always anticipated celebrating Black History Month. Today, as content creator for Media and Branding on the Haraya E-board, she thinks of every day as a day to celebrate black history because of childhood memories of her family’s commemoration of the month-long celebration. It’s in this same respect that the senior PR student is excited for the events that Haraya and its sub-orgs have planned for this year’s celebration. The theme: “Panoramic: A Look Into the Black Perspective.”

Many multicultural organizations, student advocacy groups, Greek Life and career-based organizations have come together to create events for Black History Month. The celebration kicked off on Monday with the Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner and Dialogue and is filled with events from a conversation about restorative justice to an Afro-Caribbean dance workshop.

“I’m most looking forward to Latin American Students Organization event about the Afro Latinx diaspora,” Jackson said. “I took a trip to [the Dominican Republic] for a race culture and baseball course, and it made me more aware of issues of immigration in the diaspora.”

The “Artistic Activism with Afro Latinx Artists” event will take place on Thursday, Jan. 31  in the Little Theatre from 5 – 8 p.m.

Haraya’s president, Alyssa Evans, is especially proud of this year’s programming because she says student leaders were given more freedom to take charge than they have in years past.

“It helped us to take events into our own hands and help make us better leaders,” Evans said.

Toby Chukwura, president of the African Students Association (ASA), said the organization has many events planned, including a collaboration with the Haitian Society about “the concept of anti-Africanness.”

“In a lot of black populations, there’s always stigma against being African. It’s like you may be OK being black, but you don’t want to be that type of black,” Chukwura said.

To further highlight the theme “Panoramic,” Chukwura said his organization aims to give different perspectives of the black experience.

President of Caribbean Students Association (CSA), Nia Gumbs is looking forward to her organization’s second annual Java Johnnies: Black Rhapsody event in the DAC Living Room on Feb. 22 from 5 – 7 p.m.

“I encourage students to attend [Black History Month] events even if they don’t identify as black because they can learn more about their peers,” she said. “We’re excited to showcase the artistry and talent from our student body.”

Haraya’s VP of Activities, Dionté Williams, said students should expect a different feel and experience to the organization’s staple Black and White Ball, an event which concludes the University’s Black History Month celebration. This year’s these is “Harlem Renaissance,” a reminder of the juncture in the early 20th century when a black cultural mecca emerged in Harlem, N.Y.

“Some of the proceeds from the Black and White Ball will go to Haraya’s Legacy Scholarship as a means of giving back to Pan-African students on campus and honoring a students’ social activism,” Williams said.

The ball will be on March 2 at 7 p.m. in the DAC Ballroom.

Haraya’s media and branding Twitter chair and newsletter editor, Kristen Swett, says she’s proud of and looking forward to the “intersectionality of the events this year.”

Both Swett and Chukwura mentioned the “Being LGBTQ+ in Africa” event, which will be held on Feb. 20 during common hour in SJH 305.

Haraya, ASA and CSA invite students interested in volunteering for events or getting involved to contact them via Instagram or at the activities fair next Thursday.

“We extend an open door to everyone who wants to help or get involved,” Williams said.