Any month set aside to honor and reflect on the heritage of a community is an opportunity to better acquaint ourselves with others.
“There are many things we still don’t know about our peers and friends,” said Tatiana Diaz, the director of Drexel’s Student Center for Inclusion and Culture who helped organize the University’s Black History Month observances. “The different heritage months are an educational opportunity that enriches our understanding of each other.”
With the arrival of Black History Month, Drexel has established a host of occasions to celebrate African-American culture, ponder the past and discuss current issues.
“Most people have benefitted in some way from the contributions of the African diaspora, oftentimes without due acknowledgement, restitution, historical reference or reverence to this community,” said Kamau Wright, president of the Drexel Black Graduate Student Union (DBGSU). “Black History Month is an attempt to put an emphasis on some of these historical contributions and, for me, it is a glaring reminder that black history needs to be taught year-round.”
The Black Graduate Student Union’s main effort this Black History Month was Wednesday’s panel discussion, Love in the Black Community.
“It’s an effort to create a fun learning environment while also taking a nuanced approach to black history by examining personal and professional relationships within the black community in reference to past history, the current history being written, the future history to be written and the intertwining of the three,” Wright said.
Drexel’s slate of events this February touch on a wide variety of topics.
“The black community is diverse and multifaceted,” she said. “The events in our commemoration month only skim the surface of the complex reality and lives of black people today and their rich history. We strive to bring forth a multitude of opportunities that will help our students celebrate themselves and their peers while creating spaces to have thoughtful conversations.”
In the spirit of the month, here are some of the events and exhibits Drexel is hosting.
- Exhibit: Children, Youth and Civil Rights, 1951–1968 — Now until Feb. 19 / W.W. Hagerty Library
Look back into the struggles and triumphs experienced by the young people who played a key role in the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s through photos, periodicals and other material.
- Exhibit: Are We There Yet? — Now through March 8 / Leonard Pearlstein Gallery, URBN Center Annex
A collection of sculptures fashioned from used tires, Chakaia Booker’s collection explores issues including racial and economic differences as well as globalization and feminism.
- An Evening of African-American Music: And They Sang a Hymn — February 7, 5–7 p.m. / Mandell Theater
Drexel’s Gospel Choir will present traditional hymns of African-American churches dating back to the 1800 in this free concert which will also feature the Drexel Jazztet.
- Food For the Soul — February 13, 7–10 p.m. / Behrakis Grand Hall, Creese Student Center
Enjoy food at a free dinner party designed to bring together the entire Drexel community.
- Panel: #BlackLivesMatter: Police Violence and the African-American Communities — February 20, 6–8 p.m. / MacAllister Hall, Room 2019/2020
A faculty roundtable discussion will focus on issues that have come to a head recently regarding policing, the criminal justice system and the African-American community.
- LGBT(Tea) and Coffee Chat: Queer People of Color and Intersectionality — February 25, 6–7 p.m. / LGBTQA Student Center, Creese Student Center, Room 48C
Join student organization Queer People of Color (QPOC), a section of the LGBTQA Student Center, for a discussion about the overlap between race, gender and sexual identity as well as the struggles faced by being a queer person of color.
- Black History Month Closing Reception — February 27, 2–3:30 p.m. / Behrakis Grand Hall, Creese Student Center
An annual event marking the close of Drexel’s celebration and observance of black history month looking to further pull together the University community and inspire it moving out of February.