Keeping the theme of “At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington,” in mind, the University kicked off the celebration of Black History Month on Jan. 28 in the DAC Org Lounge.
Black History month is celebrated nationally from January 28 to February 22, recognizing the progress of civil rights and celebrating African-American culture.
Assistant Director of Multicultural Affairs Natalie Munoz said the events held throughout the month put emphasis on teaching the student body about the history of black culture.
“I really feel Black History Month is an opportunity to learn from the past and reflect on what needs to be done now to continue the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.,” she said.
African-American organizations took to the task of educating the student body during the kick-off, showing off various displays of different aspects of black history.
“It’s a time where we can explore our history,” said student Dante Johnson echoing the opinion of other students at the event.
The Diversity Peer Educators organization focused on the stereotypes that are associated with African-Americans.
In one exercise, students were able to write down on a large poster board some of these stereotypes, how it makes them feel when they’re subjected to them and suggested some ways to defeat them.
Events held throughout the month will continue with an emphasis on educating the student body, starting with a new event entitled “Freedom and Equality” being held today, Jan. 30, in DAC 416A at 7 p.m.
The event looks at critical events in African-American history ranging from the emancipation proclamation to Dr. King’s famous march on the National Mall in the nation’s capital.
The 50th anniversary of King’s march on Washington will be celebrated with the MLK Dinner on Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. in Marillac Terrace, sponsored by the Black History Month Committee. Keynote speakers include University professors Dr. Vincent LaVaughn Moss and Dr. Vance JoShaun Moss.
The celebration culminates with the 23rd annual “Black and White Ball” on February 22 at 7 p.m. in the DAC Ballroom.
The ball, according to Munoz, is held to recognize the students and University workers that made all of the events throughout the course of the month happen.
“The students have worked really hard to put together a great month of programs which celebrate their culture, their contributions to society, and the challenges they still face,” Munoz said.
For a list of events, students can visit stjohns.edu/BHM or scan the quick response codes found on flyers with their smart phones.