Many community colleges are taking time during Black History Month to celebrate the accomplishments of black Americans throughout history and to engage in deeper discussions about equity and equality.
New York’s Dutchess Community College will host a series of lectures for entire community. They include a presentation by a New York Times best-selling author, a discussion on race and gender in comic art led by a professional artist and a lecture about the contribution of blacks to the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. The lecture “We Gon’ Be Alright? Education and Justice in Black America,” will illuminate the perceptions, experiences and outcomes of black and Latinx youth in urban America. Later in the month, students, faculty, staff and community members will have an opportunity to read passages from their favorite works by black authors.
Austin Community College in Texas has selected the theme “Black Migrations” for this month’s events. It “emphasizes the movement of people of African descent to new destinations and subsequently to new social realities,” according to the college’s website. Student organizations hosted a brunch and panel discussion about the importance of black history and the Black Migration of the 20th century through today. A musical showcase and trivia bowl also are on the agenda, as well as a showcase of black-owned businesses.
Besides events, ACC is taking the time to recognize and talk with faculty and staff about what Black History Month means to them. Chantae Recasner, faculty and instructional development dean, said it’s “essentially a time for the creation and re-creation of an oral counternarrative. During Black History Month we get to focus on Black people as more than victims of oppression. We’re victorious, amazing, and our history proves us among the greatest patriots this country can boast of!”
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At Enterprise State Community College (Alabama), Enterprise Mayor Bill Cooper served as the guest speaker for a Feb. 17 event. Cooper became the first black mayor of Enterprise after serving nearly 30 years as a city councilman. He gave a first-hand perspective of the Civil Rights Movement.
And in Illinois, Elgin Community College is hosting a five-week series of programs and activities celebrating black culture, experience and heritage. Earlier in the month, a panel of ECC students discussed the black student experience. During the lecture “T’Challa vs. Killmonger: Exploring the Differences Between the Diaspora and the African-American Experience,” the dynamics between two Black Panther characters will be explored to highlight the oppression between African-born or African people and American-born black people. On March 1, an African ball will celebrate African fashion, food, song and dance.
How is your college recognizing Black History Month? How does it celebrate and honor diversity all year long? Sound off at LinkedIn.