Madison Watkins, Editor-in-Chief
The Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) is gearing up for this year’s Black Heritage Celebration Month! This year’s theme is Blackish: Unity in Blackness.
OMA, in collaboration with multiple on-campus organizations, has planned over 20 events for students to attend across all three campuses.
The celebration will start on the Armstrong campus with Opinionade: Defining Your Blackness Discussion from 7 – 8 pm on Feb. 4 in Student Union Ballroom A. This discussion will be hosted by Collegiate 100 and Student African American Sisterhood (SAAS).
The first event at the Liberty campus will be Black History Jeopardy at 11:30 am on Feb. 5 at the Student Commons.
We reached out to the OMA Coordinator for the Armstrong & Liberty campuses Stephanie Molina to get more information on the events.
How did the OMA come up with this year’s theme Blackish: Unity in Blackness?
Our 2019 theme draws inspiration from the national theme which is “Black Migrations”. This national theme addresses the movement of people of African descent starting from 1900s till now. We wanted to take this a step further and touch on the solidarity that exists amongst Black people not only from the context of the U.S but also across the world. Our theme, Blackish: Unity in Blackness encompasses this unity through varying Black identities and environments or communities of which they are apart.
Can you tell me a little bit about the Brown Bag Lectures that will be here and on the Liberty campus? How were those topics decided? Did you reach out to the professors first or did the professors volunteer to do the lectures with those topics already in mind?
Our committee consists of students, faculty, and staff that come up with ideas that are either related to the theme or about trending topics related to the community. We look to our students on the committee to weigh in the most on these topics. This year, Dr. Desnoyers-Colas’s Brown Bag touches on Colorism, which is the discrimination of people with dark skin tones usually from people of the same racial or ethnic groups. Her presentation will examine colorism from a historical, social, and cultural perspective as it relates to the African American community.
Additionally, a popular topic during our meetings this year was health disparities within the African American community, particularly when it comes to women and healthcare. Dr. Nandi Marshall’s Brown Bag will feature an episode of the acclaimed PBS series Unnatural Causes that discusses the effect of racism on birth outcomes.
Why were the films “BlacKkKlansman” and “Liyana” chosen for the film series?
For our films this year we partnered with the University Programming Board (UPB) and the Office of International Program and Services (OIPS). Our committee wanted to feature Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman not only because it tells an amazing true story of how the first Black police officer in Colorado Springs infiltrated a white supremacist group, but also because of how much the setting and theme of this story still resonates today. We were excited to hear that UPB agreed to feature this film as part of their series for our month, and we are excited for people to see it. A discussion of the film will take place after the viewing.
Our choice to partner with OIPS was an easy one once they came to me with a list of choices they were looking at. All the choices were international films, fitting well into how our theme touches on the unity of Black people across the world. Liyana is a documentary that tells the story of five children from Swaziland who turn past trauma into an original fable about a girl named Liyana who embarks on a perilous quest to save her young twin brothers. The film pieces together her animated journey together with poetic documentary scenes to create an inspiring tale of perseverance and hope.
Which author will be speaking at the Author Talk: Black Migration Through Space, Time, and History? Why was this person chosen?
We are excited to feature the very first Author Talk of our heritage months during BHCM. Vivian Bynoe, Reference and Instruction Librarian at Lane Library was invited to be part of our committee this year. She came to us with this great idea and thanks to a grant from Georgia’s Writers Association we have invited playwright, Valetta Anderson, as our speaker. Witnessing the effects of gentrification in her own neighborhood in Decatur, GA, inspired Ms. Anderson to write Hallelujah Street Blues. She began using writing to highlight the Black experience with her first play, She’ll Find Her Way Home, set in the late 1860s Vicksburg, Mississippi. Ms. Anderson will speak about her experience as an African-American woman and playwright and her journey in understanding the many ways that African-Americans navigate their social environments which are in a constant state of flux. The presentation will end with a question/answer session and discussion.
What opportunities will be available for students on Black Women’s Empowerment Day and at the Black Man Empowerment Summit?
Our Black Women’s Empowerment Day will feature a Black Women’s expo with vendors from the community that our students can take advantage of during the day. Then in the evening, we will feature an empowerment dinner featuring a guest speaker who will touch on the theme for this year, “Womanish.” As far as our Black Man Empowerment Summit is for our young men to be apart of a day centered around scholarship, community, and engagement. With the theme being “The Renaissance Man,” this day will have a panel featuring community leaders, and Gentlemen’s Luncheon. Anyone with questions about these two events can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or come by our office on the Armstrong Campus in the Memorial College Center 212.